KEYSER - Keyser City Council member Terry Liller's answer to a city resident seeking help with a downed tree near her property was not what she wanted to hear.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Keyser City Council member Terry Liller’s answer to a city resident seeking help with a downed tree near her property was not what she wanted to hear.
Carolyn Ross has been to five Keyser City Council meetings in a row talking about a tree which fell during a spring wind storm and is causing water and debris in the Potomac to back up.
Calling the tree a flooding threat to the entire North End, Ross said she feels the tree was growing on city property and can therefore be moved or removed by the city.
On June 12, council member Terry Liller told her, however, that according to maps the city has, the tree is not on city property.
“We have up-to-date maps … and here’s what we’ve determined,” he said. “Where the tree lays now is not even in West Virginia. The tree was not in the city limits … so our hands are tied. We cannot take city taxpayer money to remove the tree.”
In previous appearances before the council, Ross admitted she had received not satisfaction from either West Virginia or Maryland as to who had jurisdiction over the tree, which was growing on the back of the river and fell over with the top resting on Long’s Island.
Ross added, however, that she had secured maps from the Mineral County Courthouse stating the area in question was indeed within the city’s limits.
Liller took exception to that claim, however.
“We talked to (county clerk) Lauren Ellifritz and she said she had not even talked to you,” he told Ross, to which Ross replied, “Yes, she did.”
“Are you saying Lauren Ellifritz lied?” Liller asked her.
Since the meeting, Ellifritz told the News Tribune that it was actually personnel in the assessor’s office that Ross had spoken to, and Ross even came into Ellifiritz’s office later to apologize for the mixup.
During the council meeting, Liller told Ross he could understand her hoping the tree would be declared under the jurisdiction of the city so it could be taken care of easily.
“If I was sitting where you are, I would want it to be in the city too,” he said.
“But you’re insisting it’s on city property and I’m insisting it’s not.”
After the discussion continued for several more minutes, mayor Damon Tillman brought an end to it, saying it was time to move on with the meeting.
Ross told the officials she would continue to investigation the situation.
“You may be hearing more from me,” she told them.