Commissioners Chastised for Their “Tone” At Their Prior Special Meeting
At the January 17th regular Pocahontas County Commission meeting, Margaret Worth addressed the commissioners – Commissioner John Rebinski in particular, saying that she found their “tone” during the special meeting was “vulgar and disconcerting.” She said she was referring specifically to Rebinski’s “rant” at the special meeting, saying Rebinski had attacked members of those organizations which receive a percentage of the Hotel/Motel Tax receipts, and didn’t recognize the value of the work they do for the community.
Worth said she had no problem fixing the EMS problem, or even adjusting the way the Hotel/Motel Tax is distributed, but does has a problem with the “tone” of that meeting, as well as with using COVID money to build a Courthouse Annex instead of using that money to fix the EMS crisis. She also suggested that instead of building a new 911 Center near the hospital, the existing space in the Edray Industrial Park could be used.
Rebinski responded by acknowledging his “rant” at the special meeting, but it was needed to be said in response to claims he was hurting tourism.
Rebinski said that the Edray building was considered as a 911 Center but ruled out as not being practical. He also said that the county has needed a new 911 Center and Courthouse Annex for many years, and this COVID money is the only chance for building them.
Additionally at the January 17th regular meeting, Dave Sharp, an Engineer with the Podesta Company which had been hired to do a feasibility study on the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital’s water and sewer projects, reported his study results.
Regarding the sewer project, he said there were 3 options:
- Connecting the sewerage lines from the hospital and the school to the Marlinton sewer system via a gravity flow pipeline down the hill to the Marlinton sewer system connection located near U.S. 219. This would cost an estimated 2.94 million dollars and could add some residences from Beard Heights along the way.
- Relocate the present treatment sewerage plant (which needs to be replaced anyhow because the lease will not be renewed,) to Buckeye where it would discharge the treated water into Swago Creek. The estimated cost of this would be 2.16 million dollars but would not include any new customers.
- Relocate the plant to the far side of Buckeye and discharge the treated water into the Greenbrier River. This would allow the residents of Buckeye to hook into the system. This option has an estimated cost of 3.77 million dollars.
Regarding the water system there were 2 options presented.
- Connect to the Marlinton water system at the booster station near the museum and pipe the water up the hill to the hospital and the school, at an estimated cost of 2.13 million dollars
- Upgrade the present water system by drilling a new well and upgrade the present water treatment plant. This option is estimated to cost $650,000.
The commissioners said they will make decisions on these proposals at a later date.
Additionally, the commissioners:
- Approved a draw-down of $43,220 from the Pocahontas County ARC Broadband grant to pay Thompson & Litton invoices and attorney fees.
- Received updated financial information from Brenda Harmon of the Artisan’s Coop regarding their “for profit” subsidiary corporation.
- Alice Arbuckle asked the commissioners to consider paying for the new EMS service by cutting the Hotel/Motel tax funds that go to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau from 50% to 25% and using that saved 25% to the new EMS Service. The commissioners explained to her that WV law requires that each county pay 50% to their CVB.
- Regarding the East Fork Tannery Sewer hookup project, Helmick explained that there had been a mistake made when the new Sewer line to Durban was built, as it bypassed the Tannery property. He explained that $75,000 is needed to connect the Tannery into the existing sewer line.