By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
Town of Davis Mayor Alan Tomson briefly spoke to the Tucker County Commission about adding a police presence in the Davis area. Tomson expressed concerns for the traffic from up to 10,000 visitors and tractor trailer trucks frequenting the area especially on holidays and weekends. Speeding is major concern as well.
Tomson informed the Commissioners that the Town of Davis sent out a survey to every household and the results showed 80 percent of the residents want more coverage and 20 percent do not because they do want to have to pay for it. Those residents felt it was the County’s responsibility to pay for it. Tomson shared that the Town Council for Davis has unanimously voted to allocate funds from sources in the budget to cover additional Sheriff coverage.
Tomson said that the Town and its residents have seen an increase in patrol from the Tucker County Sheriff’s office and Commissioner Fred Davis mentioned seeing an increase in the West Virginia State Patrol. Tomson also stated that Davis was looking into information regarding possible grant funds for a Town Officer. Tomson stated to the Commission, “This is a way to move forward initially and to learn and see if it truly makes a difference. And if it does, we will look to pursuing something more local. We are trying to learn as we go.”
Guest speaker Patricia Wood expressed her concerns regarding the Subdivision and Land Developing Ordinance (SALDO) for rural areas. Wood stated that with cities growing there is nowhere for them to go except to the rural parts of the county.
Wood said, “There is a tread of urban straw, where the cities or incorporated areas are growing, and they are only growing outward into the rural areas. The Planning Commission has not had an ordinance since its creation 31 years ago. Now they want to establish these ordinances with requirements for further growth. And that growth is going to go outward and intrude into the rural areas. There is going to be a conflict between the developed areas and the rural or agricultural areas.
It is bound to happen that the people in the developed areas are going to take exception to living next to the agricultural areas. They will begin to complain, “I do not like the smell of manure in my neighborhood” well you moved next door to a cattle farm.
But the proposed or drafted ordinance has one of its goals, although it is unstated, they would seek to dictate to the farmers what they can do with their land because of the interest of the businesses and developments which will rise to areas that are agricultural.” Commissioner Mike Rosenau asked where in the ordinance was this stated so he could study it and Woods stated she was not there to address those particulars and was better addressed to the Planning Commission.
Woods then spook on her opinion on what will happen once SALDO is approved. Woods said, “With the coming of these minor and major subdivisions the inevitable consequence of that is taxes. Property taxes for the residents of our county are going to go up, up, up and we are already stretched! We can not afford a big property tax increase, which is bound to come.
The proposal for application fees and fines for violations. That little bit of revenue that will come from that is not overcome the County’s need or desire to increase property taxes to fund this stuff. There are cost to implementing this ordinance. There are people who must be paid. The Commission does not draw a salary but the personnel that perform the administerial tasks, clerks and such, who process the paper from the applications and approvals and collection of fees are not going to pay for all this work.
I see that the ordinance is fashioned after other counties, and I say that is not a good fit for our county. It is not needed to accomplish the stated goals of the ordinance. Which is to improve the health and welfare living for the people of the county. The county has been getting along without an ordinance.
One of the stated goals is to protect and preserve the value of land. But that would apply to the people that already live here and their use of their land is threatened by expansion and the influx of residents from outside places who come here and want to dictate what and influence how other people in rural They areas use their land. That should not be continuous by the county commission.”
Woods went on record to state, “I and many of my neighbors who are unable to attend because they are working at this time, they oppose the adoption of this ordinance.”
In other Tucker County Commission business OEM Director Kevin White reported that there will be a commodity flow study for Tucker County. This study does not monitor traffic but shows what is being transported on the major roads leading in and out of the county such as chemicals or hazardous materials and hauled on a tractor trailer. This grant funded study has not been conducted in the last 12 to 14 years and will be conducted by J.H. Consultants.
White stated, “This is not something required by the state, but OEM and LAPCs do throughout the state so they have vital information to give back to responders.”
The Commission approved the re-appointment of Harold Spencer and Lenore Howell to the Ambulance Authority Board. Howell will be a representative for Canaan Valley. Roscoe Beall was approved to the Development Authority Board.
Tucker County Clerk Sherry Simmons went over items listed on the agenda as budget revisions and in need of the Commission’s attention. The Commissioners approved a request for $5,000 to Flanagan Hill Development Corp to improve their facility. The $5,000 will come out of the Arts and Humanities account. Simmons stated that the Flanagan Hill Development Corp was an important hub for the community.
Next Simmons shared there was an excess of $81,766 in the hotel/motel money tax money collected from the state. The Commissioners approved the money be spilt 50/50 with half going to EMS and half being spilt with each of the four fire departments in Tucker County. EMS will receive $40,775 and each fire department will receive a little over $10,000 each.
Both White and Director of EMS Shelia Marsh thanked the Commission.
During the Commissioner’s reports Lowell Moore presented some details on the potential closing of the Veteran’s clinic in Parsons. Moore stated that there is a 12-person committee board making the decision on whether to close the clinic or not. The closing is just a recommendation, and the decision will not be made until next year and the final approval or non-approval comes from the President. Moore urges the public to reach out to their U.S. representatives and state legislators and express their desire to keep the clinic open.
The Tucker County Commission opposes the closing and has written up and signed their petition to keep the clinic open. This petition was sent to all state representatives. Rosenau stated, “As your County Commission we oppose through all our elected representatives. We have it in writing, we oppose it, but we will say that the more tax payers and individuals that call these offices, the squeaky door is the one that gets the oil, so make sure your neighbors, your friends, whoever, ask them to please contact Manchin, Capito, and Mooney offices and make sure they are aware of your feelings.”
The next Tucker County Commission meeting will be held on June 25, 2022, at 6 p.m. in the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom.