By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Guest speaker Shane Whitehair, Executive Director at Region VII Planning and Development Council Buckhannon, updated the Tucker County Commission on the progress of the sewer situation in Davis and Thomas. Whitehair stated that the team working on the project had a meeting in Charleston with state officials.
Whitehair said, “State officials are very supportive, willing to collaborate with us and help get funding when we get to that point of application.” The next step Whitehair says the team will be taking is getting the professional team that includes an attorney and accountant on board to get the new collective PSD started and manage all the necessary procedures for that.
Commissioner Mike Rosenau asked if the retirement of the Secretary of Commerce would have any effect on the project. Whitehair said, “With all the other state officials that are involved and supportive it should not be a problem. Gaunch also said he would write a letter of support.”
OEM Director Kevin White thanked the commissioners for their continued support and efforts to get the shelters more prepared. White said, “Commissioner Fred Davis has been spearheading the one on the mountain. Rosenau and his crew heading the one down at Camp Kidd. I really appreciate those efforts and I think the shelters are coming a long way. Things that needed improved you have taken care of. We are taking baby steps, but we are moving forward, and I want the public to know because our commission as a whole has made us back ready in preparedness in case something does happen. Hats off to you for maintaining and doing that.”
Davis thanked White for helping during the recent emergency in Thomas. Davis had called on White for help locating divers needed to clear out the dam that had been clogged by beavers.
Animal Shelter Director Bailey Falls reported that from March to July there have been 220 animals enter the animal shelter with 64 of those adopted, 18 owners reclaimed, two euthanized due to medical reasons, 54 placed in foster homes and 69 were TNR.
TNR stands for trap-neuter-return, a method of humane population control for free-roaming cats. Cats are trapped, brought to a veterinary facility for spaying or neutering, given a rabies vaccine, then released back to the place they were originally trapped.
Falls reported that there is shortage of veterinarians in the area and getting the intake animals evaluated and treated has become somewhat of a hassle. Falls stated there were not enough vets to even do the rabies clinic, so she got certified to administer the rabies at the shelter for a reduced price. Falls can only do the rabies vaccination.
Falls plans to add a microscope and scales to the shelter so the animals can be tested on site. The shelter is currently looking for volunteers for the Animal Advocacy Center in Davis. This a fully grant funded organization by the Friends of the Tucker County Animal Shelter program. The volunteer just needs to sit at the center, hang out with some kittens and talk about the animal shelter.
Sheriff Jake Kopec in his monthly report to the commission stated that personal property taxes went out July 1 and collection can be started on July 15. Kopec also informed the commission that the state has taken over the selling of tax delinquent property. There will no longer be an 18-month grace period for the owner to reclaim their property. The properties will still be auctioned off on the courthouse steps but once the new purchaser has received their deed it is formally their property. This can only be contested through the court system.
Davis Mayor, Al Tomson, was seeking a memorandum of understanding (MOU) from the commission regarding the use of Tucker County Sheriff’s officers to patrol Davis during their off-duty hours. Tomson stated that the Town of Davis Council had allocated monies from their budget for the payment needed to pay the officers. Tomson said, “Priority is safety for us. We are looking at slowing down traffic. We are looking at the safety for our residents. We did a survey of the town and 80 percent is in favor of law enforcement in Davis to focus on safety. Obviously, some were in objection and mostly those who objected felt like it was something the county should be paying for. We are looking at this as a transitional state and we will be looking at getting our own law enforcement in the future.”
Rosenau presented a motion for the county to give Tomson’s idea a three-month trial at the end of which it would be reevaluated. Rosenau voted in favor of the MOU saying what the town did with their money was their business, Moore and Davis voted against it.
Moore stated that the liability would just be too great a risk for the county to take since the insurance was paid through the county. Moore said, “I voted against it because it would look like to the public that the sheriff’s office was not doing their job. It is not fair to the towns of Thomas, Hendricks, Hambleton, St. George, and it would be a financial nightmare for the clerks in the county and your offices.”
Davis said he voted against the motion because as a county tax payer and a commissioner he did not feel it was fair when other places like Leadmine and St. George could not afford to do the same. Davis said, “If the officers are free to work, and if I could take it out of our budget to let them do it through the Sheriff’s office for the whole county I would. Being a county and Davis tax payer, I feel like it would be double dipping. If there were a big crime wave and people were out stealing everything, I would be behind its 100 percent, but if it is about speeders, the speeders are everywhere. They need to slow down in every town.”
The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission will be held on July 27, 2022, at 6 p.m. located at 211 First Street, the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom.