By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County Development Authority Executive Director, Steve Leyh, presented board members with an update on his current activity for the county. Leyh started with providing the record low unemployment rate of 3.4 percent for the month of September. This is a significant drop from the 4.1 percent in August. The county added 77 small business entities thus far in 2022 making the growth rate of 13.39 percent.
The real estate market in Tucker County is on a downward trend. In October the median listing price for a home was $269,900 with a selling price of $255,000. That is a -15 percent year-over-year.
In regard to the newly elected government officials Leyh said, “I did send out some emails to our newly elected officials. Tim Knotts is our new county commissioner. I sent him a congratulatory email. We have a new delegate. Delegate Hott, (John), and we have a new Senator, Senator Jay Taylor. I sent each one a congratulatory email and received a response back from Taylor.” The consensus from the board members present was that Taylor was a good person and would do good things for the county.
The development authority has received their economic development grant. Leyh said, “It has been deposited into our checking account, so that is good news.”
Leyh attended the Central West Virginia Development Authority meeting. Leyh said, “This is the group that is doing the broad band project the last couple of years. Nothing came of that project. We rejoined that group as part of going for a reconnect grant. That never happened because the USDA would not allow us to do wireless, but they are trying to wrap up the grant from a couple of years ago.”
Leyh stated he attended the October 26 PSD hearing and county commission meeting. A more in-depth conversation was held later in the meeting with the board members. Leyh explained the water and sewer usage for both Thomas and Davis and how the new I and I system would help with growth development. With rising cost of everything the project has a potential to cost 35 percent more in five years. Leyh said, “If we do not plan for the future we will fail.”
Board member Bruce Kolsun asked, “Is there a plan in place?” in reference to the new proposed Blackwater PSD. County commissioner representative Mike Rosenau said, “There was an initial $50,000 allocated to start the PSD. There was a public meeting held to make sure both entities, (Thomas and Davis), were on board. We now have to establish a board of three to five members. I want to make sure to include the Mayors from each city in the bylaws, so if the mayor changes the mayor is still on the board. From that point on it is back to the attorneys to work out the details and the cities to make sure they get their votes. Then it comes back to the county commission.”
The commission has also applied for a $300,000 Community Block Grant. Region VII will be doing the leg work for this grant.
The request for qualifications has been ran in The Parsons Advocate. Leyh reported he had not received any as of yet but was expecting to receive up to 30. At the last development authority meeting five members were appointed for a committee. The request for qualifications is the process of obtaining statement of qualifications from qualified engineering firms to provide a variety of services for the Tucker County Industrial Park located at Davis, on an as-needed basis.
Once the proposals have been received the board will read and rate them. Then interviews will be conducted with the intention of having a firm hired by January or February.
Leyh also prepared and submitted all the needed documents to the state for the audit procurement. Board member Dennis Filler asked, “Do we need to get someone from the state to do the audit?” Leyh answered, “No, the firm is approved to do the audit. The state has to approve the contract. The state approved them this week. They have a deadline of (November) 30.” If an extension is needed that will have to be approved by the county commission.
Leyh mentioned that office space was needed in Thomas, Davis, and Canaan Valley if anyone had any available to please reach out to him.
The board members voted to approve a work session for the industrial park protective covenants and restrictions. Preservation easements may be called a “covenant” or “restriction,” depending on jurisdiction. Regardless of what the document is called, a preservation easement will be recorded with the property title and is a required part of all development (construction) grants, including projects with ground-disturbing archeological work.
Protective Covenants must state who is responsible for the constant supervision of the park’s covenants and restrictions, i.e.: owner/developer, municipality, or major property owners. In all cases, the management entity of the park will have the authority to enforce the covenants and restrictions on all tenants and future tenants of the park.
This work session will be held on December 1, 2022, at 4 p.m. and located at the National Youth Science Foundation Center, 494 Riverstone Drive, Davis, WV 26260.
The authority will be conducting strategic planning sessions as well. Leyh asked for approval from the board that allow a previous executive director of Randolph County Development Authority to assist in the planning. Leyh stated that this person had many years of experience and knowledge to help. The goal of the plan is to determine the priorities of the board, what the board wants Leyh focused on, who are is the board trying to serve, and the main thing the boards want to see accomplished.
The December meeting of the Tucker County Development Authority has been canceled by vote of the board members. The meeting will recommence in January. Check the authority webpage at Meeting Information – Tucker County Development Authority (tuckerwv.com) for the latest updates on meeting days and times.