By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Tucker County elects have been sworn into service for the residents of Tucker County. Newly elected Commissioner is Tim Knotts. Knotts won the election against candidate Deborah Stiles. Two returning electees are Sherry Simmons as the County Clerk and Sharon Moats as Circuit Clerk. Both Simmons and Moats ran uncontested.
The county commission is the governing body of a county. Fifty-four counties elect three-member commissions while Jefferson County has a five-member commission. Commissioners serve with salaries ranging from $19,800 to $36,960.
The Constitution provides certain powers to the county commission, but these powers are limited to “the manner prescribed by law.” This means that the county commissions’ powers must be expressly conferred by the Constitution or by acts of the Legislature. With respect to the powers of a county commission, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has stated that “a county court (now county commission) possesses only such powers as are expressly conferred upon it by constitutional or statutory provisions, together with such powers as are reasonably and necessarily implied in the full and proper exercise of powers expressly conferred upon it.”
The West Virginia Constitution, Section 11, Article 9, specifically grants the following powers and duties to county commissions:
- The custody, through their clerks, of all deeds and other papers presented for record in their counties, with responsibility for their preservation or disposal as may be prescribed by law.
- The administration of the internal police and fiscal affairs of their counties, with authority to lay county levies, under regulations as may be prescribed by law.
- Serve as the judge of the election, qualification and return of their own members, and of all county and district officers, subject to regulations as may be prescribed by law.
The County Clerk responsibilities include the management of records of the county commission and election duties. The primary responsibilities center around two basic functions: to act as clerk (fiscal officer) of the county commission; and to act as the receiver of fees charged for the instruments filed and recorded within the county. To carry out the numerous duties, the clerk of the county commission may select deputies and other employees. The budget for the operation of the county clerk’s office as a whole is determined by the county commission. The salary range for county clerks is from $42,200 to $55,440 and is required to be full-time in Class I-V counties.
The Clerk of the Circuit Court is elected in each county to carry out administrative functions and to act as record-keeper for circuit court actions in that county. The office of the clerk is authorized by Article 8, Section 9 of the West Virginia Constitution. The Circuit Clerk is an officer within the judicial system and plays a pivotal role in that system. The West Virginia Constitution establishes a hierarchy of administrative control that gives overall authority for the entire judicial system to the Supreme Court of Appeals. Local administrative authority lies in the circuit court, including the office of circuit clerk with regard to the clerk’s judicial functions but the clerk has autonomy to establish procedures and policies necessary to carry out statutory responsibilities. The salary range is $42,240 to $55,440 and is required to be full-time in Class I-V counties.
Tucker County Commissioners Meet with Delegate Elect John Paul Hott
Commissioners Rosenau, Moore, Davis, and new commissioner elect Knotts met with the House of Delegates Elect Hott to discuss some of the issues Tucker County faces. Rosenau went over several key items that need addressing for the county with Hott. An example of those issues included the Corridor H from Parsons to Thomas/Davis and the minimum tax paid by big land holders like the State of West Virginia and Western Pocahontas. Rosenau said, “Half of the county is owned by the state or federal government. Then there is 30,000 (acres) owned by Pocahontas. They are paying the minimum taxes and that leaves the 42 percent of us in the county to pay it all.”
Another issue discussed was the use of hotel/hotel tax monies usage and how it is being mishandled by Air BnB. Air BnB is a company that rents out short-term rentals on-line. The county is having an issue with them because they are allocating the hotel/motel tax by zip code and with the eastern part of Tucker County using the same zip code there is mass confusion as where the tax money is supposed to go and how much is supposed to be awarded for each entity involved.
These were just a limited selection of issues discussed with Delegate Elect Hott. The commissioners covered many more with him. After the meeting Rosenau introduced Delegate Hott to the different departments in the county building. Hott joined the commissioners and county associates for the annual Christmas dinner hosted by the Tucker County Commission.
Tucker County Commission Hosts Christmas Dinner and Presents Commissioner Moore with Plaque
The commission hosted a dinner for the associates of Tucker County. The dinner was served by the Tucker County High School FFA members and prepared by Chef Carrie Boyles. The students served ham, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, rolls, and chocolate chip cookies. The ham came from one of the hogs that was donated back to the FFA after the Tucker County Fair auction.
During the dinner the fellow commission members Mike Rosenau and Fred Davis presented Lowell Moore with a plaque of appreciation for his 12 years of service to the residents of Tucker County. Commissioner Rosenau said, “While we have everybody together today we would like to present Lowell with a little token of our appreciation for his 12 years of service to Tucker County.” Moore replied and said, “Thank you so much. It has been an honor to serve the people of Tucker County. It has been an honor to work with this commission. I think I have worked with six different commissioners in the 12 years I have been here. It has been a pleasure and an honor. It has also been an honor to serve the people of Tucker County. The citizens are who we are working for. I want to thank everybody. It has been a great ride!”