County Commissioners Authorize PMH To Purchase Lot Adjoining the Hospital

At the February 16th County Commission Meeting, Mary Beth Barr, CEO of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH) explained that the Strategic Planning Committee of the Hospital Board has been negotiating with Buckeye Development to possibly buy a tract of land that adjoins the hospital property. The land is just under two acres in size, and PMH would like to build a housing unit and equipment bay for their Emergency Medical Unit. Barr explained that they have reached a tentative agreement to buy the land for about sixty-thousand dollars ($60,000) however, since the county owns the hospital, they need the approval of the County Commission to make the purchase. Barr said that the property would be purchased using cash from the hospital’s operating budget, and they can afford it. Commission President Walt Helmick was assured that no county taxpayer money would be used for this. It was also pointed out that the property has been appraised for Seventy-four thousand dollars ($74,000) and assessed at forty-nine thousand dollars ($49,000.) Convinced that PMH can afford this purchase, the commissioners voted to give PMH the authority to purchase the property at a price they negotiate using their own funds.

Additionally, the commissioners agreed to make a five-thousand-dollar ($5,000) contribution to the Pocahontas County Humane Society, which will be used as their match to obtain a fifteen-thousand-dollar ($15,000) state grant to provide reduced-cost spay and neutering services in the county.

Jason Bauserman and Judy Fuller of the Upper Pocahontas Community Cooperative (UPCC) let the commissioners know that the citizens of that part of the county want to preserve and restore the old Howes Tannery Office Building in Frank. The UPPC is looking for a group of citizens who are willing to form a non-profit corporation that can obtain grants to restore the building. Fuller said she has also been looking into having the building placed on the National Historic Registry, which would make it easier to obtain restoration funding grants. Commission President Helmick said there would still need to be a useful purpose for the building, such as a museum, and any non-profit would have to agree to operate and maintain the county-owned building and once all this was in place, the commission might consider turning over the ownership of the building to that non-profit.

It was agreed to discuss this further at the next commission meeting,

During the meeting, the commissioners also:

  • Adjourned the current Board of Review and Equalization Hearing.
  • Scheduled three 2021 Budget Work Sessions for 10:00 a.m. on March 8th and 12th, and for 9:30 a.m. on March 10th.
  • Agreed to consider including the Fire Board’s fiscal audit as part of the Commission’s annual state audit at a future meeting, provided the Fire Board provides them with a letter requesting this.
  • Received an update from 911 Director Mike O’Brien about the progress of building the new parking lot at the 911 Center. O’Brien said they are waiting for the weather to break and for Southern states to remove an old propane tank from the site.
  • Received an update on the repairs to the courthouse roof. They have been told by maintenance that the roof is not leaking at this time, but will probably need new and larger guttering to prevent future leaks. They need an estimate and any work will have to wait for better weather.
  • Received an update from Rita Griffith on the Day Report Center’s upcoming JCS Grant application. The commissioners passed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Community Corrections Board authorizing this application.
  • Appointed Louise Burner to the County Fairs, Dramas and Festival Board, term expiring June 30, 2023.
  • Voted to write a letter to the Federal Communications Commission to force the satellite TV companies to provide local West Virginia channels to their Pocahontas County customers instead of the Virginia channels they now provide.

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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