Deed Restrictions On Green Bank Industrial Park Looked At By County Commission

The Pocahontas County owned land at the Green Bank Industrial Park still sits idle! Once again, John Fitzgerald has come before the Pocahontas County Commissioners to see if there has been any new movement in his efforts to free up the land to be productive. Mr. Fitzgerald wants to lease the property from Pocahontas County to grow crops on it, but has found his way blocked because of deed restrictions.

Back in February, Mr. Fitzgerald first came to the Commissioners asking for them to request that the School Board remove the limiting deed restrictions on the land. Those restrictions require that the land can be only be used for “Economic Development” purposes. The problem is that back in 1990 when the Board of Education decided they no longer had a need for that land; they deeded it to the County, but for some reason, added the deed restrictions.

So, the Commissioners last February decided they would try and learn why the Board of Education had placed the restrictions on the deed, and to consult with the County Prosecuting Attorney to see if and how the restrictions could be removed from the deed.

At their April 7th meeting, the Commissioners informed Mr. Fitzgerald that they had researched the reasons the Board of Education had placed those restrictions back in 1990. At the time the Board needed funds to purchase other land and the only way they could secure the money to do that was to turn the Green Bank land over to the County Commission with the restriction that it be used only for “Economic Development”.

The Commission passed a motion to have Attorney Bob Martin approach the Board of Education to have them consider releasing the restrictions. Martin says that he can draw up the paperwork to do that if the Board of Education approves.

If that happens, the Commissioners say that they may have to advertise any agricultural lease of the land for competitive bids.

In other business, the Commissioners looked at grass mowing sealed bids for three county owned properties which had been advertised and published. They awarded mowing contracts to:

Keith Beverage to mow the County Owned lots in East Cass for a seasonal price of $3509.00 to mow 11 times from April through September, 2015. This was the lowest bid of the 3 received.

Curtis Helton to brush hog 10 acres at the site of the old shoe factory 3 times for $$872.00. There were three bids and one was higher, and the other one was unclear whether the price quoted was for one mowing or for all three, and since it did not following the bidding guidelines was disqualified.

Gwynne Furr to mow the East fork Industrial Park 2 times a month for the entire 2015 mowing season for $475.00. This was the only bid received for this job.

They once again took up the issue of appointing a new Fiduciary for the Samuel David Elliott Estate as requested by Tandra Webb, a claimant against the estate. Back in the February 3rd Commission meeting, Webb had objected to the denial of her claim by the Fiduciary of the Estate, Mike Doss since she had not posted the bond required by Mr. Doss. Webb claimed she had never received Mr. Doss’ bond letter.

The Commissioners awarded Webb an additional 30 days to post the bond to have a hearing on her claim. Now, Webb came before the Commission to demand a new Fiduciary. County Assistant Prosecutor Bob Martin advised the Commission that Mike Doss has just followed the law, however the Commissioners voted to have a new Fiduciary appointed since Mr. Doss advised them he had no problem with standing down as the Fiduciary for the Samuel David Elliott Estate.

They approved a Federally Funded Grant to the emergency Management center to purchase 16 law enforcement radios at a cost to the Federal Government of $48,000, and no cost to Pocahontas County.

They discussed an issue with the previously approved contract to have the S. J. Neathawk Company install carpet and padding on the 2nd floor of the courthouse. Questions had arisen about installing carpet over existing wired on the courtroom floor. The commissioners passed a motion to have the Fire Marshall consulted about this.

Ruth Bland, School Transportation Director discussed the new generator installed by the county at Marlinton Middle School. It has been working fine and its fuel tank can also be used to fuel a school bus. The fuel tank does not need to be fenced since it is double walled. As a matter of Insurance, the Commissioners voted to write a letter to the School Board giving them the generator. Commission Attorney Bob Martin advised that he could write an amendment to the contract giving the generator to the schools if they agree.

Sheriff David Jonese requested funds to purchase a new Law Enforcement Vehicle for $27,865. He says he has the funds in his budget for the purchase and needs to replace their high mileage vehicles. The Sheriff Jonese says some of their vehicles have 180,000 miles on them. The Commissioners approved the request.

They approved an estimate of $2000 to replace the garage door at the old shoe factory using the existing automatic opener.

They addressed a letter received from an attorney demanding that the Commission pay about $110,000 in attorney fees to former County Prosecutor Donna Price’s attorneys. Attorney Bob Martin advised the Commissioners that in his opinion they should not pay this since there is a precedent WV Supreme Court Case stating that since Price was found by the court to have deliberately committed misconduct in office, the County has no responsibility to indemnify her and pay her costs or fines. The Commissioners voted to send a letter drafted by Mr. Martin responding to the demand. They also voted to not pay Price’s legal fees and to demand repayment of $13,625 of her legal fees erroneously paid by a previous Commission based upon their belief that the money was being used to pay a legitimate bill.

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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