August 16th Pocahontas County Commission Meeting, Part 2
In part one of our story about the August 16th Pocahontas County Commission meeting, we talked about Amendment 1 on the November 8th election ballot, which could open the door to eliminating the personal property tax we pay annually on our vehicles. In this second part, we will let you know what else happened in the meeting.
During the Hear Callers section of the meeting, Crystal Bond, who lives on Brush Country Road, reinforced earlier complaints made to the commission about a neighbor setting off loud, earth-shacking explosions. She said when they call 911, no one responds and does anything about these explosions. Commission President Walt Helmick assured her that the commission has been made aware of this problem and will do anything in their power to help, but they are not a law enforcement agency.
The commissioners selected the bid of the Spilman Thomas & Battle law firm to represent them for the Pocahontas County ARC Broadband Project.
Cara Rose delivered the annual report of the Convention and Visitors Bureau. She summed it up by saying the tourism industry in the county is healthy, as reflected by an 18% increase of Hotel-Motel Tax revenues this past fiscal year over the prior fiscal year.
Judith Lyons of the WV Conservation Agency discussed the stream erosion problem at the tannery site in Frank. She said the commission had selected Option 2 as their choice to fix the problem. That option involves placing rip rap anti-erosion terraces and tow wood. The commission still needs to apply for a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, and receive approvals from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The commissioners approved the One Room University to hire Alicia Tallman as their Coordinator as a part-time employee without benefits at a pay rate of $1,198,10 per month.
Johnney Dean and representatives of several other towing companies in the county complained about towing companies jumping calls, towing two vehicles from one call, and out-of-county towers responding to tows in the county. Commission President Helmick said the Towing Committee needs to try and work these issues out among themselves before the commission gets involved with them.
Helmick also discussed the Handley Wildlife Management Area in the county. He said the WV Department of Natural Resources has indicated it no longer maintains the property, which has been a popular recreation area in the county. Helmick said that while the county has no interest in owning the 776-acre property, it might be interested in a 20-year renewable lease on a small portion of it which has the camping facility and the lake. He speculated the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation could possibly maintain that area for the county residents to use and enjoy.
Additionally at the meeting, the commissioners:
- Authorized the Assessor’s Office to use money currently in their budget to hire Jimmy Boggs to fill an existing vacancy as a full-time mapper at $14.25 per hour plus benefits, starting on August 17th.
- Held an executive session to discuss legal issues with County Prosecutor Terri Helmick concerning the county-owned lots in East Cass.
- Approved writing a letter requesting a $20,000 grant from the Green Bank Observatory to help finance the construction of the 911 tower in Bartow.
- Approved a $1,200 funding request from the non-profit Bryans Battery, Inc. to help fund the 2022 Battle of Droop Mountain civil War Reenactment, scheduled for October 8th and 9th at the Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park.