Commissioners Vote to Purchase 911 Communication Site on Droop

At the October 4th Pocahontas County Commission meeting, the commissioners heard 911 Director Mike O’Brien’s request to purchase a .43-acre lot off of McCoy Road on Droop Mountain at a cost of $10,000. This site will be used as a future 911 tower site. After clarifying that the site will provide enough room for the tower and the ancillary small buildings needed, the commissioners voted to make the purchase.

O’Brien also obtained commission authorization to hire Daniel Tuttle as a part-time 911 Dispatcher at $12.00 per hour with a starting date of October 5th.

Additionally, O’Brien obtained the approval from the commission of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Green Bank Observatory for a Power Density Waiver, which for public safety reasons, would permit the 911 communication tower at Bartow to exceed the Observatory’s usual quiet zone wattage restrictions.The commissioners also closed 16 estates which are three or more years old and were given notice last July 6th that they would be administratively closed by the commission if no progress was made on them. They were able to do this because of recent legislation passed by the state.

Dave Sharp of Potesta & Associates, Inc., the engineering firm contracted by the commission to conduct a feasibility study of the proposed water and sewer system at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH,) provided an update on the firm’s progress with this study. Sharp said they are diligently working on the study, and recently did a one-day site visit, examining the water tower and the wells. He said the 63,000-gallon water tower there is in good shape, but the problem with water delivery is that one of the two wells is in poor shape.

Sharp said the firm is attempting to determine the best way to deliver water at the site. He said the options are to drill a new well or tie into the Marlinton municipal water system. The problem with tying either the water or the sewer into Marlinton’s existing water and sewer systems is that the terrain between the town and the PMH site would make it difficult to pipe water up to PMH or pump sewerage down to the town’s waste water plant. He said they also need to evaluate the treatment plant in Marlinton to determine if it has the capacity to handle the additional sewerage.

Commissioner John Rebinski challenged Sharp for not making much progress on their feasibility study since it has been quite some time since Potesta was contracted to conduct it. Sharp apologized and promised to present the completed draft studies to the commissioners at their November 1st meeting.

During a brief discussion about the East Fork Tannery sewer hook-up, Commissioner Rebinski said the commission will provide $25,000 in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for the project, which still needs some environmental work done.

The commissioners voted to move their November 1st regular meeting up to the courtroom since their usual meeting space in their office will be utilized for early voting that day.

Rebinski also remarked that ARP funds and or Opioid Settlement funds should be spent for obtaining a drug dog for local law enforcement to combat the drug issues in the county. Commission President Walt Helmick added that the county commission will financially do whatever it takes to solve that drug problem.

At the end of the meeting, the commissioners called Terry Blake of the WV Public Service Commission (PSC) about problems with Frontier telephone service in the county. Blake said the PSC, Braxton County officials and angry citizens held a meeting with Frontier management last July 28th in Braxton County, where people presented their complaints about Frontier’s telephone service, and aired their frustrations to Frontier. She said 85 people at the meeting turned in official reports of service issues to Frontier, and Frontier is providing updates on what they are doing to fix those to the PSC on the 15th and 30th of each month. The commissioners say they are going to reach out to Frontier and coordinate with them to hold a similar public meeting with the PSC, interested citizens, and Frontier in the near future.

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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