Roxanne Tuesing attended Wednesday’s meeting of the Tucker County Commission to give them an update on the new VA Clinic. Tuesing informed the commissioners that the date has been set for the opening. Plans, as of right now, are for the equipment and any additional materials that will be taken to the new building to be moved on Friday, June 20 with the clinic opening to see clients on Monday, June 23. Tuesing also advised the commissioners that a “Ribbon Cutting” ceremony will be held in the early afternoon on July 9. This date coincides with a county commission meeting to be held that morning and the time is being scheduled to allow the commissioner’s attendance. She invited them all to come and tour the building. Commissioners also discussed the paving and possible expansion of the parking lot, which is in disrepair. The paving of the lot had to be postponed to allow for the completion of the construction of the new building. They hope to enlarge the parking area to allow for staff parking without taking space from clients.
Jennifer Poling, Tucker County Extension Agent wanted to make the commissioners aware that there may not be an Energy Express Program this summer due to lack of reading mentors. Poling stated that mentors must be at least 18 years of age, enrolled in college, and registered with AmeriCorps. These mentors must be available for the entire eight week program and which pays $1,800. Poling told the commissioners that at this time, they only have one applicant and a total of ten mentors are needed. Poling went on to state that if Energy Express did not happen this summer, the funds they currently have will be used to provide another type of reading project.
Shane Whitehair of Region VII presented the commissioners with the Hamrick PSD’s application for a Small City’s Block Grant. He requested the commission’s approval to submit the application. Whitehair’s request was approved by all commissioners and the application was signed by Commission President Mike Rosenau.
David Lambert was in attendance to speak on behalf of the Tucker County Board of Education. His intent was to give the commissioners a brief overview of the plans for the excess levy, which will be on the ballot in the May election.
Lambert stated that the levy will be used entirely for the benefit, safety, and well being of the students. Lambert stated that one of the items the board hopes to address is some design flaws at the high school with regards to heating and air conditioning issues. Lambert stated, “It is an ongoing joke that the halls are cooled in warm weather with no air conditioning in the classrooms.”
Lambert went on to add that the board hopes to use some of the levy funds as a match to allow the board to receive SBA grant money. The county schools have been turned down for grants in recent years due to lack of matching funds. This grant money will allow the board to pursue large scale construction projects.
Lambert explained that the levy funds will also be used to provide textbooks, supplies, and technology equipment for the schools. No levy funds will be used for salaries or pay increases for any board employees.
Lambert stated that the levy will also allow the Board of Education to provide passes to middle school and high school students as well as Senior Citizens to attend all athletic events and programs held at all schools in the county.
If passed, the levy will also allow the Board of Education to make contributions to the county’s libraries and the 4-H programs in Tucker County. In the past few years, these contributions have stopped due to lack of funds.
Lambert explained that the cost of the levy to the taxpayers will be approximately $5.16 per $10,000 of assessed residential property values. This amounts to roughly $30 per year for a home with a market value of $100,000.
Lambert presented the board members with black and gold T-shirts donated by East West Printing with Pass the Levy printed on them.
Lambert added that he, Dr. Campbell, and Jonathan Hicks were in the process of visiting the senior centers and their outposts and were also attending meetings of the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, CVI and other civic organizations to explain the levy and that they had held public meetings in various areas of the county. When asked about the response they had received, he said that the responses had been positive.
Lambert thanked the board for their time and told them that he, Dr. Campbell or Jonathan Hicks were always available for any questions, comments, or discussion that they or the public might have.
The county commission received no less than four funding requests at Wednesday’s meeting. Commissioners stated that with it being the end of the budget year that they had to weigh all needs presented and prioritize any funding allocations.
Jennifer Poling, Tucker County Extension Agent made a request for $500 on behalf of the Mineral County extension agent. She stated that the funds would be used to assist with the WV Master Gardeners Association’s state convention to be held on May 2 – 3. The commissioners respectfully denied the request.
Commissioners also respectfully declined a request for funds made by Robin McClintock on behalf of the Alpine Heritage Preservation. The funds McClintock requested were to be used to assist in making the upper levels of the Cottrell Opera House accessible for guided tours. McClintock informed the commission that the opera house would have liability insurance in place by mid May. Commissioners offered McClintock suggestions on other avenues of funding that the Alpine Heritage Preservation might pursue.
Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora asked the commission for $10,000 to hire a coordinator for Teen Court. LaMora stated that Teen Court currently has a bank account of $15,000 and that it receives $5 from each magistrate court case. LaMora added that he did not need the funds immediately but hope to get them no later that the first of August, as he plans to begin Teen Court in September. The Commissioners respectfully denied LaMora’s request. LaMora thanked the board and stated that he would re-apply for funding at a later date.
Joe Drenning, Mayor of Davis, Shane Whitehair of Region VII, and Brian Huffman of Chapman group presented a request for funding assistance to help get the Davis Water System Improvement Project shovel ready. These funds would allow the engineering process to continue and hopefully improve Davis’s chance of receiving a Small City’s Block Grant, which has a deadline application of May 21. This project will not only benefit the city of Davis, but will also improve the water system to Blackwater Falls, the Rubenstein Center and the Industrial Park. The commissioners made it known that they are eager to assist with this project, but took no action at this time. They asked for additional information from Huffman. Also, they want to look at the budget to see where an additional $28,000 could come from since there is only $22,000 in the Coal Severance Re-Allocation Fund, which can only be used for infrastructure projects. This will allow them to match the $50,000 allocation they approved for the Hamrick PSD. All commissioners agreed that both applications receive equal support from the county commission.
The commissioners wanted all parties requesting funding to know that they support the various projects and feel that all are important, worthwhile endeavors with merit, but unfortunately at this time of the budget year, money is just not available for all requests. “It’s not easy to say no,” stated Commissioner President Mike Rosenau.
In other business, the commissioners approved a request for the Farmer’s Market to use the commission parking lot, which is located across from the Parsons City Hall, on Saturday mornings this summer. This market will be in addition to the one currently held at Mill Race Park.
Commissioners also approved the advertising for the Summer Youth Program. All were in agreement that this program had been very beneficial to the county in the past.
Commissioners agreed to cancel the regular commission meeting scheduled for May 14 due to the May 13 election.
The next county commission meeting will be held on May 28, 2014 at 6 p.m. in the Tucker County Courthouse Courtroom, unless there is a need to call a special meeting.