Commissioners Moving Closer to Restricted Access to the Courthouse

At their November 7th meeting, the Pocahontas County Commissioners approved the bid from Security Detection Services to purchase a Garrett walk-through metal detector, a Garrett handheld metal detector and an Auto Clear Model X-ray machine at a total cost of $24,540, which will be paid for by their Courthouse Security Grant. Commission President Walt Helmick explained it has become necessary to add this security to the courthouse because the WV Supreme Court has been concerned by the lack of security at the Pocahontas County Courthouse, and is requiring these additional security measures.

Helmick said that when this security in in place in about 6 months, the front and rear doors to the courthouse will be closed to the public, who will be required to only use the side door to the right of the main entrance where they will be subject to metal detection and having their property to be x-ray scanned. These types of security measures are already required in many county courthouses in the state, including at the Greenbrier County Courthouse.

Helmick said the biggest expense to this will be hiring the courthouse guards who will staff the security entrance.

In a related action, the commissioners voted to sign an agreement with SecuriTech, LLC for them to wire the doors and install electronic door locks so that Courthouse employees can still access the building through the other doors, and not have to go through security every time they go to work.

The commissioners also approved the bid from Mitchell Chevrolet to purchase a 2023 Chevy Taho with 4-wheel drive, and a 5.3-liter engine for $55,445. This was the only bid received. This vehicle will replace the high mileage 911 Vehicle. This will be paid for out of 911 funds.

They also approved a bid to purchase from Cass VFD, the 2016 Ford 350 ambulance the County Ambulance Authority is already using for $75,000. This vehicle includes all the supplies and equipment currently on it. Commissioner John Rebinski recused himself from this vote because of his ties to Cass VFD.

To purchase a second ambulance to serve the southern part of the county, the commissioners accepted a bid from Penn Care to purchase a new ambulance, however new ambulances are backed up for several years. The new ambulance will be a 2026 Ford 450 Gas 4-wheel drive and will cost $237,398.

The commissioners also discussed the water and sewer projects at Beard Heights. They had already purchased a small piece of land on US 219 and plan to put in a new waste treatment plant there, replacing the old one which is beyond its useful life. They are considering drilling a new well on 7 ½ acres they already own on the hill, and possibly adding a second water tower on it. There was no action taken on this, just a discussion.

Additionally, at the meeting:

  • They donated $2,500 to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to replace the dangerous electrical in the Sydenstricker Cabin, and they also donated $2,500 to the Humane Society of Pocahontas County for their Spay, Neuter and Release program for feral cats.
  • They approved the only bid received for courthouse heating oil. The bid was from Woodford Oil and was for Roanoke Rack Price plus 13 cents per gallon. That price as of today would be $3.22 per gallon.
  • They approved a payment of $6,528.24 from their C & B Grant to pay a bill for the PMH HVAC Project.
  • They approved the Environmental Report, a release of funds, and a notice of intent to bid for the old BOE office building in Marlinton’s Demolition Project. This should happen in early spring.
  • They approved a notice of intent to bid regarding the EPA Brownsfield Clean-up Project at the East Fork Industrial Park.
  • They approved a resolution in support of the Circuit Court Clerk’s application for the Records Management & Preservation Grants;
  • They approved Budget Resolutions totaling $9716 for reimbursements and donations.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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