By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Parsons City Police Chief, Kevin Keplinger, opened the recent Tucker County Commission meeting with a prayer for the people of Tucker County, people with recent loses in the community and for the people of Ukraine and surrounding countries. Other guest in attendance were Bailey Falls, Director of Tucker County Animal Shelter; Jessica Waldo, Executive Director of Tucker County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau; and David Watson of CEC Engineering.
Falls spoke on the happenings of the animal shelter in the past month. There have been 40 animals entered into the shelter, four were adopted, 12 are being placed in foster homes, 16 were TNR, seven were transferred to rescue partners, leaving 10 at the shelter. Currently, there are 12 in foster care and 22 in Tucker County Animal Shelter care.
For those who may not know, TNR is a program designed to trap, neuter, and release feral cats back into the environment. Rather than immediately reducing the numbers through euthanizing or removal, TNR practitioners hope to slowly reduce populations over time. Both Commissioner Michael Rosenau and Lowell Moore commented on how well the program works. Rosenau has noticed a significant decline in feral cats in his neighborhood. Commissioner Fred Davis also commented that the spay/neutered program is a great for the community. Falls mentioned she is waiting for the grant money to come through to host the next community event.
Falls stated: “We are staying busy at the shelter. The warmer weather brings increased need for our presence in the community, and we are proactively addressing several colonies of cats within the county to help with the cat overpopulation problem.”
Waldo brought the commission up to date with a 2021 annual report. Director Waldo stated: “As 2020 came to an end, everyone anticipated 2021 could only be better after surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we were faced with new challenges as the virus continued to dominate our lives. January of 2021 stated with another strong ski season, word was out of the new owners at Timberline Mountain and that Ski the Valley truly meant enjoying three ski resorts in Canaan Valley. Spring entered as COVID-19 numbers started to decrease, providing hope that the worst was behind us. We had yet another successful summer season, as more people wanted to continue to experience the outdoors. Summer events were able to occur, including the inaugural Parsons FVD triathlon, Pickin’ in Parsons, Canaan Valley Half Marathon and the first Moonlight Under the Falls Marathon. Canaan Resort held a weekly FREE Friday night music series, Fourth of July Festivals in Thomas were held then we hit fall season. A new variant of COVID-19 spread, and events were canceled once again. Just as things started to feel “normal” we were back to protecting ourselves, our families, and our guests. Overall, we were fortunate to see tourism growth throughout the county.”
Watson was present to request payment for the Thomas Sewer Plant Evaluation. The price came in at $45,000 for the evaluation of the treatment plant for leachate. The evaluation is for the hopes of Thomas taking some of the leachate from Davis. Rosenau put in a motion to have Thomas Major Jodi Flanagan, the Commissioners and Watson conduct a work day and go over all the study numbers.
The Commission approved submitting a letter of support for the Tucker County Family Resource Network’s (TCFRN) Family Support Center grant application to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for family assistance. In the letter the commissioners said: ”The TCFRN is a key stakeholder that has provided valuable resources and programming to our county for more than 25 years. The programs and activities provided through their Family Resource Center support health, wellness, and general well-being of local families with children ages 0-18.” The letter ended with “The Tucker County Commission wholeheartedly supports the Tucker County Family Resource Network on the Family Support Center grant application and looks forward to continuing our support and partnership with them well into the future.”
The Tucker County Commission also held a special meeting to approve and finalize the annual budget. Discussions were had regarding the recommendations for pay raises, which came out to 2.75 percent and all department heads agreed. Bailey Falls was also raised to Director Status of the Tucker County Animal Shelter. Funding requests were discussed for the Historical Landmark Society, Five Rivers and Mountain Top Public Libraries, Tucker County FFA, Family Resource Network and the Tucker County Development Authority. Lastly there were discussions regarding a contract and rental received regarding Magistrate Court, Family Court, Circuit Court, and the office space in the Courtroom. After much discussion, it was decided that a request would be made for an increase of $7. ($18.00) per square foot of lease space. Rosenau made a motion that the budget be approved as presented and the motion carried.
The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission will be held April 13, 2022, at 9 a.m. in the Tucker County Courtroom.