By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
County Administrator Sheila DeVilder submitted a grant request to replace, repair, and upgrade the courthouse security system, which Maintenance Director Joe Long was working on at the time of the meeting. “Hopefully by December it will all be installed and we will be done with that,” DeVilder said.
The final paperwork needed for reimbursement of the Courthouse Brick Restoration Grant has been received and will be sent in. DeVilder received notification that the grant she submitted to restore the brick of the Tucker County Jailhouse from the Courthouse Facilities Fund, which should begin at the beginning of the new year.
“That jailhouse out there completes our brick restoration here in this complex,” said Commission President Lowell Moore as he thanked DeVilder for her work on securing the grants for the projects. Just in the last two years for restoration of the courthouse, the approximate cost has been $150,000, all grant-funded, and the jailhouse will be an estimated $100,000. Moore believes that all of the improvements made are valued at approximately $900,000, which included the fire suppression system. “That has been very beneficial to the county here,” Moore added.
Approximately $41,000 was received from the CARES Act from the last request with October’s submission soon to be filed. All of the paid EMS Fees have been entered into the system at this time. “I appreciate all the hard work you’ve done on that EMS bill and getting those grants,” said Commissioner Fred Davis to DeVilder.
Jenny Newland with Downstream Strategies gave the Commissioners a brief presentation relating to the services offered and how they may be of assistance to Tucker County. “We are super supportive of the Hyperloop project and want to be able to find a way that we can contribute,” said Newland. Bush stated he felt utilizing these services would be a great idea with Davis in agreement, adding it would be in the Commission’s best interest to develop a list of short and long term goals to determine priority.
Interim 911 Director Beverly Cantrell is waiting on a quote for another terminal to be used in the Office of Emergency Management Office. The new CCGW (Conventional Channel Gateway) from Motola has been installed, which has been an ongoing project to improve communication of the 911 Center.
Kevin White, OEM Director, has been in continued contact with Tucker County Health Department and James Snyder, who wanted to reiterate the need to be wearing masks due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. “Most cases that we’re seeing right now are not showing a fever, so just because you don’t have a fever doesn’t mean you may not be positive,” said White. With allergy, cold, and flu season underway, it is making it more difficult to recognize when to get tested.
The final signs that were set to be installed throughout Tucker County in efforts to minimize the large truck traffic on the backroads have been erected. The CERT team radios had to be returned for a programming change, and the electronic signs on Route 38 and 219 are in place and operable. Stream cleanup is still ongoing, making great progress. “Things look a lot better and should pay dividends if the water does rise and we don’t have all that debris in there,” White said.
White was approached by Dirk Burnside, controller of state towers on Backbone Mountain, to assist with the propane for the backup generator and heating at the tower locations. “For trade-off, I don’t see how we could go wrong,” said White. Those duties have been assigned and addressed as part of winter preparations.
The new response truck has been properly decaled and only lacks radio system installation; however, portable units can be utilized in the meantime. All trailers have been serviced and are parked for the winter and all other equipment has been inspected and serviced as necessary.
Randolph County submitted a mutual agreement request for Tucker and Randolph Counties to have direct communication with each other versus having to be patched through by the 911 Center. These two counties work alongside each other when needed and having each other’s channels on their communication systems would serve as a major advantage. Once the memorandum is reviewed, White will sign the agreement and move to the next phase.
Animal Shelter Director Bailey Falls provided a brief update, stating, “We’ve had a record number of adoptions in November.” So far, there has been one adoption per day for this month. There were 33 adoptions and 37 transfers to rescue partners in October. An account with the vaccine company Zoetis was achieved which will cut monthly vaccination costs for the shelter by 70%. “We were spending $6.60 per vaccination and use about 50 give or take vaccines a month, and so that’s down to $1.97 per vaccine,” Falls said.
A fiduciary commissioner has reviewed and ruled on the Charles Phillips Estate Settlement, which Moore suggested going with the ruling. All commissioners were in favor of doing so.
The canvas certification will stand and County Clerk Sherry Simmons asks for approval to submit those results to the state. “Our numbers remain the same,” she said. Davis made a motion to approve with all in favor.
The Animal Shelter Board was abolished in December of 2019 due to a lack of by-laws. Since that time, a set of by-laws have been developed and submitted to the commission for approval. The board would consist of seven members to include the Director, a Commissioner at Large, and five members at large. A full, six-year term may be served, however, they must be re-approved and the terms will be staggered. Moore read a list of board member suggestions to include Bob Gutshall for one year, Cindy Goughnour and Michele Felton for two years, and Bob Ekholm to serve a three-year term, all starting January 1, 2021. There is one more position that will be approved at the next meeting. Moore made the motion to approve the board with Davis and Bush in favor.
Three erroneous assessments were presented and already approved by Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora and passed the commission. The payments were reviewed and noted an increase due to the election and only one meeting being held that month. The commissioners thanked Simmons, her staff, and everyone who worked to make the election a success.
Simmons requested that the yearly estate sales be added to the agenda that the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department conducts on an annual basis. She needs permission to sign off on the sales once they are complete, which passed unanimously.
Moore announced that a representative from the Hyperloop project will be at the December 16 meeting at 9 a.m. to give a presentation.
Davis commended the progress being made at the landfill and the improvements are moving the facility in the right direction. He recognized Thomas resident Terry Nelson who grew a record-setting pumpkin that weighed in at over 1,700 pounds. Davis requested that a member or representative from the EMS board attend at least one of the two monthly county commission meetings to provide updates and answer questions that they may have. He has been approached by citizens asking questions that he feels the EMS board would be better equipped to answer, which Moore and Bush agreed.
Bush did not have a report to offer at this time. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 16 at 9 a.m. at the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom. Masks are required.