New Commissioner Appointed;County Administrator Resigns

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By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
It was a big day for the Tucker County Commission as Commissioners
Lowell Moore and Fred Davis came to an agreement on whom their third
counterpart would be to finish out the term of Patrick Darlington.
Prior to getting into the business of the meeting, Father Grassi asked
the blessing over the meeting followed by The Pledge of Allegiance.
Commission President Moore called the meeting to order and the previous
meetings minutes were approved.

During the meeting a correspondence was read by Moore, which he stated
he was sad to have to announce.  The letter was written by County
Administrator Joel Goughnour after nine and a half years of service,
announcing his retirement effective the end of June.  “I move that we
accept that resignation with regret,” said Moore with Davis in
agreement.  This position will be posted for applications.  One county
board appointment was presented for Samuel Blosser Jr. to be assigned to
the Tucker County Animal Shelter, which was also approved.  There were
no road names at this time as well.

Under audience and guests was Kate Somers, Executive Director of the
Home Ownership Center.  “We are a nonprofit organization that provides
home buyers services,” Somers explained.  The organization can serve
individuals of any income and are looking to serving more residents
within Tucker County.  Financial counseling is one of their
contributions offered to those looking to become a home buyer in
addition to home buying education and advising, lending options, and
down payment assistance.  For more information, you can visit
www.hocwv.org.  “New homeowners need assistance and advice,” agreed
Moore.
For the elected officials report, Tucker County Assessor Chris Michael
informed commissioners, “The assessor’s office was fortunate enough to
receive a grant for new aerial photography from the state of West
Virginia.”  The ones currently in operation are from 2012, and this
grant will pay approximately 60% of the upgrade costs.  “Since 2012
we’ve added somewhere toward 150 new homes, a lot of those with new
roads connected to them, and that’s a good thing for 911,” Michael
continued.  The goal is to have the new photographs in July which should
help all of the local entities and should be up to date for four to five
years.
Employee’s reports began with Community Corrections Director Dustin
Luzier.  He stated they recently had their annual grant phone call with
no requested clarifications and that their construction process is
nearly complete in their offices.  Joe Long, Maintenance Director
followed saying the cabinets in the Senior Center have been installed
and they are awaiting approval for their building.  “Our courthouse
system here has some great people,” Moore commended with how well
everyone has been working to achieve common goals.
911 Director Brett Ware said, “We’re still working on our upgrades
for our system with a tentative date of August 12 to go live with the
new phone system.”  August 24 at the Parsons Senior Center and August 27
at the Senior Center in Thomas will be sign up opportunities for the
mass communication system the 911 and OEM has been developing.  This
program is being referred to as TEAMS (Tucker Emergency Alert Management
System) that can distribute approximately 800 calls per minute in the
event of significant disaster events needs to be made aware.
911Teams.org can also be visited to sign up if they wish, or a resident
can visit one of the locations noted for assistance for this free
service.  Ware also recently met with the representative from the
National Weather Service updating the weather station should be back
online in the next couple months.  Ware noted 33 individuals are
scheduled to test for the part time position, however at the time of the
meeting only one of ten have actually showed up.  Davis asked Ware about
recent paging issues several individuals have been having.  Ware
explained, “The frequency that we use is interfered with by a lot of
things,” with giving a list of some of those items contributing to those
issues.  “That interference is drowning out our transmit signal,” he
explained.  Using a new frequency would result in each fire department
needing to purchase all new pagers, however they are very expensive.
Company 10 Chief Kevin White noted sometimes relocating the pager away
from other electronics in your home will help with the reception.
White offered the commissioners detailed reports of happenings over the
prior two months.  White and Deputy Director Pat Gray recently completed
a two week training course required by FEMA and were successful.  The
ZUMA shelter has been delivered and inspected with an anticipated July
13 exercise demonstration day.  Canaan Valley will be hosting the 2019
SERC conference which will bring several areas of OEM and first
responders from all 55 counties to the area.  White reiterated the TEAMS
topic mentioned by Ware encouraging county residents to take the time to
sign up for this customizable informational broadcast system.
Dennis Filler, County Planner, addressed the commissioners saying, “We
executed the Smart Growth America broadband plan last week,” as he
thanked those who attended.  “We will end up getting report back and
then we will help on following up on that.”  Flood plain ordinances are
being investigated and updated in the near future to be in line with
FEMA laws and regulations.
Correspondences included information increasing the elevator service
fees by 4%.  Moore said, “The elevator, I have no problem with, though
their service was less than satisfactory.”  Moore contacted surrounding
county businesses seeking recommendations on their service providers and
though it will increase the costs slightly, the high reviews received of
Kone Elevators Maintenance were felt to be worth it and the motion
carried.

The third and final reading of the EMS Ordinance was presented.  Moore
highlighted the changes made in the ordinance, which included but is not
limited to three being the cap on the amount of fees one can receive,
what constitutes an exemption, requests of budgets from the ambulance
authority, and usage of funds.  With no comments or questions, Moore
moved to accept the third reading of the ordinance with Davis seconding.
The next item on the agenda was to appoint Sheriff Brian Wilfong over
the Donald Burruss Estate, due to his passing.  Davis asked for
clarification what it meant to do this, to which County Clerk Sherry
Simmons explained the legalities, which lead to the passing of the
motion.  The in house budget revision was presented, which Simmons
explained are very common.  Davis motioned to accept the revisions
seconded by Moore.  The Fair Housing Resolution was read by Moore which
ensures there is no discrimination and how to handle such.  The motion
was made and approved.  A maintenance building was up for consideration
for the maintenance department for proper storage of their tools and
equipment.  A 24 by 26 building was quoted at $7,060 plus approximately
$1,500 for the concrete.  “I think our maintenance people are in
desperate need of that,” said Moore as both commissioners agreed to
approve.
There was one erroneous assessment that has already been approved by
Prosecuting Attorney Ray LaMora which the commissioners approved as
well.  Both commissioners granted their approval of payments with the
noted jail line item taking a slight decrease.  Commissioner’s reports
followed with Moore touching again on the Smart Growth America
initiative he took part in.  “It wasn’t as well attended as we hoped,
but we appreciate those who did come out.”  Davis had nothing to report
on at this time.
A brief executive session commenced to discuss personnel.  Upon
returning, Moore said, “At this time, I want to make the appointment of
our new commissioner to replace the vacancy of Commissioner Patrick
Darlington.  We as the two commissioners appoint Mr. Jon Bush.”  He
said, “Selecting a person to fill a vacant seat of a County Commissioner
is a difficult process.  We had many applicants from many well qualified
and experienced candidates that applied for this.  I want to thank each
one of them in taking an interest in serving the people of our county.”
He continued, “Making a selection to who would best serve our county is
a great responsibility but it is a duty that is required of the standing
commissioners.  With this being said, we want to welcome Jon Bush as our
new commissioner, we look forward to working with you and serving with
you,” Moore said.
Simmons swore Bush in prior to the adjournment of the meeting.  The
next meeting of the Tucker County Commission will commence on Wednesday,
July 10 at 9 a.m.  at the Tucker County Courthouse.  As always, all
public are welcome and encouraged to attend.