Disgruntled Citizens Address EMS Fee

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By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate

There was a larger than normal crowd at the October 9 meeting of the Tucker County Commission that opened with a word of prayer by Reverend Barr followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Commission President Lowell Moore called the meeting to order with Commissioner Fred Davis making a motion to approve previous meeting minutes.

Audience and guests were addressed first, with Patrick Marozzi with Advantage Technology addressing the panel first. They are the largest IT provider in the state of West Virginia based out of Bridgeport. His intentions were to introduce himself and their services to the commission in the instance they would need their offerings. Moore jumped to item one on the agenda to table the topic of joining forces with Advantage Technologies until further research is conducted, though County Clerk Sherry Simmons requested a quote for a total audit.

Donna Helmick, with the Centers Against Violence, requested a proclamation be adopted recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A motion was made by Moore to do so, with all in agreement.

Several attendants spoke up regarding the recent EMS fee invoices that were recently sent out. Some individuals went as far as to threaten to sue the county commission, the commissioners, and the assessor. During one citizens dispute over the fee, Davis intervened explaining that though Moore was on the commission that set up the EMS fee, the other two former commissioners are not currently serving and he did not feel it was fair to be taking the full heat of the citizens alone. One resident asked if senior citizens could be exempt and Moore said it’s a consideration to be checked into. It was mostly agreed upon by the disgruntled citizens that the fee should have been voted on.

Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora gave an update on Grand Jury where nine individuals were indicted adding to their case load. County Clerk Sherry Simmons offered to wait until the end of the month to offer a full report and Sheriff Brian Wilfong had nothing to report on as well.

There were no correspondences though there was one county board appointment of April Miller for the Development Authority. This will be a three year term and was approved unanimously. Employee reports began with Sheila DeVilder, who offered an update from Joe Long stating they hope the sprinklers will be complete by the end of the year. She has submitted the court facilities grant and is working with Simmons on the records grant.

OEM Director Kevin White gave a brief report informing the stream clean up has approved the request for debris removal which crews will be coming in to perform. The Soil Conservation will be looking closer into the Leadmine project where a blockage will be removed and stabilized. Grant County had a lost hiker that Canaan Valley assisted with that had a positive outcome and White noted he is waiting for the official NOAA report for impending winter weather.

Bailey Falls, Director of the Animal Shelter, updated the commissioners of a grant funded vehicle purchase recently made. They have pending sales on three other items they are hoping to fulfill soon. Outdoor cat shelters are in the works with local entities to assist with the outdoor cat population. A rabies and micro chipping clinic was scheduled for October 12 in St. George to assist residents with those needs as well. Collaboration with Cortland Acres is in effect to introduce residents to some of the furry friends of the Tucker County Animal Shelter to assist with both socializing of the pets and therapeutic benefits for the residents.

Run for It raised around $800 for the shelter which will help with their needs. “For the year of 2018, we significantly decreased the length of stay for animals at the shelter,” Falls informed. “The average length of stay in previous years was over 2,000 days, and it’s down to 51 days in 2018,” she said. It has decreased even more in 2019 to around 24 days.

County Planner Dennis Filler reported the Atlantic Broadband contracts have been renewed. By his estimates, the county will be saving around $2,000 per year by doing these upgrades and modifications. “My recommendation is that we authorize Sherry to sign the contract and we will start the process,” he stated. Moore commented the approval has already been made to move forward with his recommendation. Filler also noted a presentation ceremony at the ESSF for the First Responders by US Senator Joe Manchin on Friday, October 11 at 1 p.m.

There were no road names so new business continued. A resolution was presented by Circuit Clerk Sharon Moats to secure grant funds to secure the documents in the Tucker County Circuit Clerk office. All commissioners agreed. There was one erroneous assessment that was moved to approve by Commissioner Jon Bush with all in agreement. Payments were then approved as presented after clarification by LaMora as to why payments were made out of state for recently indicted individuals.

There was no need for an executive session, so the meeting was adjourned. The next gathering of the Tucker County Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, October 23 at 4 p.m. at the Tucker County Courthouse.