Commission Hears Concerns from 911 Due to Frontier

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By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

There was a lengthy discussion between 911 Director Brett Ware and the three Tucker County Commissioners, President Lowell Moore, Fred Davis, and Jon Bush.  Ware stated over the last two-week time period, there have been several outages with the phone systems due to aging and faulty equipment owned and operated by Frontier Communications.  He said that Frontier had placed the cause of the outages on the 911 equipment, however Ware said that is not the case.  Shortly after those allegations, he ensured all equipment went through a thorough check to perform any maintenance necessary, however he was informed his equipment was fine.  Davis brought up several citizens’ concerns he has been receiving, saying individuals were attempting to call 911 due to a fire at Cortland Acre’s Apartment Complex and always receiving a busy signal.  Davis also noted volunteer fire fighters were not receiving their pages to respond due to the communication outage.  OEM Director Kevin White added, “This is why all fire departments should have a siren,” in the instance there is lack of responders due to faulty service.  Ware informed the outage was so significant over the weekend the 911 Center almost had to move to their backup location to have access to communication systems.  “We’re hopeful within the next five years we’ll be away from Frontier all together,” he said. He added that not only is the service poor, they pay almost $500 per month for the service that is insufficient and lacks ability to meet their needs.  However, everyone involved realizes this is a very significant issue and they are going to be working towards coming to a much quicker resolution.

After the previous meetings minutes were approved, Brad Moore of the Tucker Cultural District was present to offer a 2019 budget report as well as an update on the county signs they were asked to develop.  The TCD were asked to design signs in cooperation with WVU’s graphic design department to place at the county entrances near the roadways.  There will be two larger signs that are approximately eight feet in length that will be placed where Corridor H will come into the county and approximately eight smaller ones.  These signs mimic the rolling hills found in Tucker County along with a welcome message and an established date.  There is also a logo to depict several areas that make up our county, such as an emblem for fishing, hiking, music, and more. “It’s kind of a branding effort,” commented B. Moore as they attempted to select unique qualities that our county offers. The larger signs, costing around $3,500 each, will be suspended on wooden posts with rock gardens and flowers underneath.  When the West Virginia Department of Highways were consulted on placement, they recommended to seek out permission from private landowners to bypass several hurdles that would be needed to place on the state right of way.

Moore then shifted into the budget review informing they began with a balance of nearly $12,000 and ended with one over $75,000.  This was thanks to a $125,000 grant received from the Benedum Foundation, however that money was then or is in the process of being distributed amongst 15 other organizations.  He provided a detailed report for the commissioners to review and ask any questions they may have.

Tucker County Clerk Sherry Simmons began the employee reports.  “We have completed the worker’s compensation audit,” she began.  Her office is also working on the 2018-2019 audit as well as working alongside the Tucker County Sheriff’s Department on the linked computer system.

Moving onto employee reports, County Administrator Sheila DeVilder reported on the recent trainings she has been attending, including P-Card and auditor’s training.  She is also reviewing updated rules and regulations that may be up for adoption upon review.  In addition to White’s comments mentioned regarding the Frontier issues, he also gave a report thanking Commissioner Moore for his introduction at the recent conference held at Canaan Valley for the State Emergency Responders meeting.  His team performed a ZUMRO shelter deployment which he stated, “We have stuff that other people don’t,” and how amazed several attendees were at this amenity.  OEM recently performed a preparedness event for Mettiki Coal in which around 11 people attended.  They also have one scheduled for next week at the Kingsford plant.  White updated the command trailer has been properly repaired and is fully functional once again and he is meeting with Soil Conservation to discuss debris removal, mostly referring to sediment and rock.  White also briefly mentioned the training held at TCHS for the teachers prior to students returning to school.  County Commission has received a grant to place several Stop the Bleed kits in all three schools.  This grant was in the amount of $2,500 and Ware and White will ensure proper placement in the schools once received.

There were no correspondences or road names presented, however there was an application received by Dennis Filler requesting a one-year term to be served on the Ambulance Authority Board.  Bush made the motion to approve with all in favor.

New business followed with the approval of the draft signage presented by the Cultural District as well as the hiring of Allison Zirk as part time employee at the Animal Shelter.  Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora reviewed the erroneous assessments prior to the approval by all three commissioners.

Commissioners then presented their reports beginning with Moore stating that Canaan Valley will be hosting the Regional Development Authority meeting, in which he plans to attend.  Moore also attended the auditors training with DeVilder and was happy to report the Murphy Flood Damage Project has been complete.  He also wanted to take a moment to extinguish a rumor regarding Station 2 in Davis.  It had been mentioned that the doors were not big enough for the ambulances.  He said from the doors to the back of the bays are 28 feet and each unit is only 20 feet allowing ample space for these emergency vehicles.  He did note there is one over height ambulance however it is at Station Three in Canaan Valley.

Bush provided his report stating he recently visited Station Two, commenting, “It’s a beautiful showcase piece.  I was very impressed.”  There is a grand opening event slated for September 14, 2019 at noon.  At this time, Davis had no updates to report on.

The next Tucker County Commission meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 11 at 9 a.m.  It will be held at the courthouse courtroom and is always open to the public.