By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Several items were on the agenda for the January 8 regular meeting of the Tucker County Commission. Reverend Kevin Keplinger blessed the meeting with a prayer before the reciting of The Pledge of Allegiance. Newly re-elected Commission President Lowell Moore called the meeting to order with the approval of two previous meeting minutes.
Executive Director of the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board Mark Holstine was present to offer an update on the Tucker County Landfill. He began by apologizing for missing the December meeting, but there were scheduling conflicts with meetings. “Work on the landfill continues,” Holstine confirmed though they have experienced not only weather delays, but more financial issues. Recently the landfill received a $20,000 grant that they have already allocated where needed, though unfortunately he noted several accounts still unpaid. They are hoping to gain access from an escrow account that they already have plans for as well. Repairs have been made to the facility as well as trenches being installed and attempting to gain airspace. “There’s not a lot of physical work taking place until the weather breaks,” Holstine added. He expressed concerns for the future of the facility if loans are not secured soon to continue cleaning up the internal operations of the business, which he noted the Solid Waste Authority would have to remain in control of the landfill for the duration of the loans if received. Holstine also stated customers have been calling in regarding the rate of $5.80 per ton, to which he explained $3 goes toward the repayment of loans and $2.80 goes towards operational expenses. There have been three new board members assigned to the board that have an upcoming meeting scheduled for January 21, at 3 p.m. Moore asked Holstine to continue keeping the commission posted on further developments and any meetings scheduled.
Elected officials reports consisted of Assessor Chris Michael reading a letter his office received from the State Tax Department, which monitors the office. The letter informed Michael that their office was found in complete compliance of all standards and commended the office staff for a job well done. “There’s a lot of teamwork involved,” said Michael. “I’d just like to thank them (his staff) for a job well done,” he concluded. “We’re blessed to have you fellows,” commended Moore.
County Clerk Sherry Simmons followed stating hopeful candidates for the upcoming election can begin filing on January 13. She was asked if voters can still change party affiliation who wish to run for an office, which she responded that time has passed. However, voters can still switch parties up until 30 days prior to the election. For some offices, Simmons said, that are specific to political parties, and there are special procedures required for those listed as an independent to appear on the ballot. Any questions can be directed toward the staff at the County Clerk’s Office, and assistance filing will also be provided if requested.
Joe Long, Maintenance Director, offered an update regarding the completion of the sprinkler system pending the inspection by the Fire Marshall
Joe Long, Maintenance Director, began the employee reports by updating that the sprinkler system will be complete pending the approval by the Fire Marshall. From the time a sprinkler head is activated, it takes only ten seconds for water to reach the sprinklers which are on a self draining system. Long and his crew are waiting for wiring to convert to Atlantic Broadband and the conduit is being installed at the Animal Shelter. “The snow has slowed us down a little bit,” he confirmed.
County Administrator Sheila DeVilder said once the inspection by the Fire Marshall is complete, she will be turning in the pertinent paperwork for that project. Next on her agenda is to continue on the courthouse restoration grants to fully finish the preservation of the Tucker County Courthouse.
Bailey Falls, Animal Shelter Director provided a recap of 2019 for the commissioners. From January until December, 295 animals were taken into the shelter and 329 left. Of those, 96 were adopted, 33 were a part of the trap, neuter, and release program, 21 were reclaimed by their owners, and the rest were sent to rescue partners. She announced an upcoming rabies and vaccination clinic being held on January 11 due to recent rabies being confirmed within Tucker County. Falls added these clinics are usually only twice a year, but due to the recent cases, an additional one was felt needed. Commissioner Fred Davis commended Falls on a job well done, sharing a compliment he received from a recent patron to the shelter. “You guys do a great job,” he told her.
Concluding the employee reports, County Planner Dennis Filler provided a brief update stating that the Corridor H Construction has started down Hollow Meadows, bringing attention to the crews being in the area and to use caution when travelling. Filler is also working on letters of authorization to switch phone service providers in the attempt to upgrade the county offices and courthouse staff.
There were no correspondences at this meeting, moving into unfinished business. County Board Appointments were up for vote, which included the re-appointment of Ben Herrick to the Planning Commission and appointing Dennis Filler to the Solid Waste Authority. Moore continued by making a motion to accept the resignation of Kim Falls from the Animal Shelter Board, which all were in agreement. The final line item before moving into new business was the dissolution of the Animal Advisory Board. Moore commented they are not presently in compliance with the bi-laws and recommends this action for the time being. Commissioner Fred Davis made the motion to dissolve this board with Moore and Bush in full support.
Moving forward on the agenda was the removal of a Solid Waste Authority Board Member. Moore, preferring to keep the name anonymous at this time, made the motion with all in agreement. The commissioners tabled the item of the 2019 Annual Report Planning Commission to give them time to review the plan provided in their packets. There were no erroneous assessments and the commissioners approved the payment of bills as presented.
Commissioner’s reports were the last item to address for this meeting. Moore recognized Paula McDonald for her service to the Tucker County Courthouse Offices and her recent retirement. “I want to wish her well,” Moore stated. He also wished to thank his fellow commissioners for the re-appointment as Commission President. “It’s an honor and I thank you.”
Davis noted the Canaan Valley Public Service District is moving forward on their sewage system. He said the buyers of Timberline, as well as the locals are excited for the new things to come to the area. Bush did not have an update at this time.
The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission is scheduled for January 22 at 4 p.m. in the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom. Public attendance is always welcome and encouraged.