By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Commission President, Mike Rosenau provided a brief recap of what the Commissioners have been accomplishing in the last 30 days. On January 16 the Commissioners went to Charleston and met with Senator Jay Taylor, Senator Randy Smith, and Tucker County Representative John Paul Hott to discuss issues in Tucker County. Rosenau said, “We had dinner with them that evening and we had close to a three hour meeting on discussion of what took place and what we need within Tucker County.
Then on January 17, we met at the Capitol to answer any questions the Senate Government Organization Committee has on the amusement tax. Tucker County Day was January 17, so while we were in the parking lot Senator Smith sent me a text that said Mike can you all come up to the Capitol. I said yes we can, we will be right there. We could not attend the meetings that were planned for the Tucker County Day because we were called to the Capitol. The reason we were called to the Capitol is that they have the first bill on the amusement tax.
The amusement tax was going to the Government Organizational Committee. All senators in that committee can ask questions concerning that bill. So, if there is somebody in the audience from our county that can answer the questions it helps the bill move forward.
There were also representatives from tourism to give their take on things. The senators did not ask either one of us but at least we were there to give our point of view if they would have asked. That bill passed the Government Organizational Committee that day. It passed unanimously and went on to the Senate Finance Committee. There has not been a date set up yet for when it will show up on the committee floor. If it passes the Finance Committee then that amusement tax bill moves on to the full Senate floor. I hope it passes like it did last year. Our legislators are working diligently on it. They really are. Senator Smith, Senator Taylor, House Representative Hott are working hard for Tucker County to get this bill passed for our emergency services.
Then if it passes the Senate it goes to the House of Delegates. It does the same process on the House side it did on the Senate side. So, during our time there we have answered a lot of questions from various senators that said ‘Oh you are from Tucker County. Talk to me about that amusement tax bill.’ The Commission has tried to pull all stops and telling everybody in the Capitol how we feel and how it will benefit our county and how they do not have to accept it or adopt it in their county if it is not a right fit but please support us in that vote.
We also had a planned meeting with the Department of Highways. In that meeting we discussed everything. We discussed big trucks on secondary roads in Tucker County. They have a solution that would help us with that, and we have pursued that solution. Hopefully it will deter some of those trucks from going down those roads like Leadmine and Sugarlands.
We talked about a bypass around Thomas with the new Corridor H. We talked about the heavy traffic in Thomas and Davis during peak times. We explained it was hard for a local resident to even go check their mail in their town. The possibility of accidents. All of that we covered with them thoroughly. We talked about the completion of Corridor H. Safety issues like with the exit on the new roadway up on the mountain by the high school. We talked about the elevation of the new highway. We are glad they are going to this other route to keep us out of the fog.
On January 22 we met with other County Commissions throughout the state to discuss issues they were having so we may also learn what we can apply to our county to make it better.
January 25 we were called back to the Capitol and met with Delegate Hott. We had a meeting with Jessica Waldo the Director of Tucker County CVB and Tom Price the Director of Operations at Timberline. Delegate Hott wanted both parties in the room to explain their situations and what their stance was on the amusement tax. Mr. Price explained that he felt that the additional $0.95 on a lift ticket that cost $95 would deter people from coming to his facility. We tried as a Commission to explain to the delegate that determent would be if there was an accident on the slopes or in the roadway coming there and we didn’t have an ambulance that would take care of the person coming to the facility to enjoy themselves. How that would impact Tucker County and tourism. The Commission is totally for tourism but we have to prioritize how our dollars are spent and to me the safety of our community is most important. That meeting we were able to convey to the delegate the importance of the amusement tax.”
Rosenau went on to explain how the Commission met with Senator Shelley Moore Capito who gave them ideas on how to apply for some grants and information on earmarks that may have some effect on Tucker County for the new Blackwater PSD. There was discussion held concerning the Opioids settlement and how the county could spend the money to help the community. During dinner that evening all three commissioners rallied for EMS funding with the legislatures that were present and discussed options with other county commissioners.
The Commission was once again called down to the Capitol by Senator Smith to meet with Senator Glenn Jefferies to discuss funding for the Blackwater PSD. Rosenau said, “Senator Jefferies has ties to the funding and how to apply for it. We appreciate the effort to take the time to talk to us, the Commission. We appreciated that and we thank him.”
Rosenau disclosed that there many little things that were discussed during the commission’s trips to Charleston. Some of those items included discussion on why the county was not getting the appropriate funding from the windmills, how other counties render EMS services (private vs county), affordable housing, and allocation of the hotel/motel tax monies. For additional information Rosenau said, “50 percent of the hotel/motel tax is mandated by the state to go to the CVB, (Convention and Visitors Bureau). We use our 50 percent to fund ambulance services, fire departments, historical sites, and making Camp Kidd electrically safe. Those arevthings we use our hotel/motel money on so we do not have to incur on the people of the county.”
Tucker County Animal Shelter Director Bailey Falls presented her annual report to the Tucker County Commission. Falls reported for the year 2022 they had 557 intakes and of those intakes 237 were adopted, 41 were owner reclaims, 12 were euthanized, zero were euthanized for space, 13 deceased for various reasons, 145 were placed in foster homes, 130 were trapped neutered and returned, and 94 were transferred to rescue partners. Currently there are 25 animals in care with nine in the shelter and 16 in foster homes.
Falls said, “So just to sum up those numbers in comparison to 2021. We have increased our adoptions by 96 percent. For 2023 we are going to focus on increasing our volunteer involvement, implementing behavioral modifications and enhancement, staff training and retention, grant allocation and long-term planning along with community programming. These are our main focuses for 2023 moving forward. Looking back at 2022 and seeing what we have accomplished and where there’s room to improve.”
Upcoming events include a rabies clinic on April 27. On this date there will be one clinic held in Parsons and another one on the mountain, most likely in Davis. There are also upcoming fundraiser events that can be found listed on the Tucker County Animal Shelter website located at tcanimalshelter.org or on their Facebook page.
The Tucker County Animal Shelter board will meet on February 7 and the Friends of Tucker County Animal nonprofit will meet on February 15. Falls said, “Anyone who would like to attend is always welcome to attend these public meetings.”
Commissioner Tim Knotts said, “I came down and checked you guys out the other week and everything looks really good. You guys are doing a wonderful job.” Falls answered with, “We have come a long way but there’s always room to improve.”
Terry Silks submitted his resignation from the Corridor H Authority Board to the Commission. Commissioner Mike Rosenau said, “We will have to do some investigating on that first to see if we (the Commission) are the appointing authority before we accept it. We will have to carry it over to the next agenda.” Silks resignation was tabled until next meeting.
The Commission voted to approve appointing four members to the Planning Commission. Ben Herick will be reappointed for a three year term. Newly appointed members included Okey Eye for the remaining term of the resigned William “Bill” Shahan that ends on December 31, 2024. Kelly Stadleman and Skyler Humphrey were approved for three year terms.
Other appointments included Janet Canon the Local Emergency Planning committee member replacement for the 911 Advisory Board effective through March 31, 2023. Cindy Harsh was reappointed to the Hamrick PSD for a six year term. Interim EMS Director Amanda Simmons was appointed to the 911 Advisory Board as the EMS representative. Phil Fansler and Mary Sagace reappointments to the Parks And Recreation Board was tabled until more information can be received as to when their terms expire.
The Commission approved the Parsons Volunteer Fire Department’s request to use the parking lot on September 24 through October 1, 2023, for the fair. The Commission also approved the recommendation to accept the fiduciary commissioner’s report on the Waybright estate.
There will be a meeting change for the month of February. There will be only one meeting to be held on February 15, 2023, at 9 a.m. as the Commission has another meeting in Charleston to the betterment of the county and cannot be back in time. Rosenau asked to move the meeting halfway between the two regular scheduled meetings. The meeting change was approved.
The commissioner’s reports started with Knotts who stated, “Really enjoyed being in Charleston these past two weeks, working for this county, and getting the support we are getting down there from our legislator and senators. We have three people, our two senators and one legislator, that are really working hard for us, and I really appreciate not only them three but a lot more. We have met a lot more and talk to them. Things are looking good for Tucker County. Keep us in your prayers.”
Commissioner Fred Davis first thanked everyone in the county, his fellow commissioners, Sheila DeVilder, and everyone that has given his family prayers this week during the birth of his grandbaby.
Davis then provided an update on Eastern College working with the residents of Tucker County. Davis said, “Eastern College wants to meet with the Commission to provide classes to the residents of Tucker County that are of any age. The idea is to help educate our people or further someone’s education so that they can obtain better jobs and earn better pay if they wish to do so. This is a great thing we are trying to get brought into this area.”
Rosenau stated, “We go back to Charleston again to discuss the same things we have addressed. As they say, the squeaky door gets the oil, and we are going to fight all we can for Tucker County.” Anyone wishing to find out information on the West Virginia State Legislature can do so by visiting their website at www.wvlegislature.gov or by contacting the Tucker County District Representatives in writing or by calling the numbers listed below:
Senator Randy Smith at P.O. Box 387 Thomas, WV 26292 District Phone: 681- 270-1497;
Senator Jay Taylor at 87 Zara Lane Grafton, WV 26354 District Phone: 304-319-2327;
House Representative John Paul Hott at 207 N. Main St. Petersburg, WV 26847 District Phone: 304-257-4494.
You may also contact your commissioners at:
Commission President, Mike Rosenau, 304-614-4006
Commissioner, Fred Davis, 304-614-3227
Commissioner, Tim Knotts, 304-478-2070
The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission will be February 15, 2023, at 9 a.m. and located in the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom at 211 First Street, Parsons, West Virginia, 26287.
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