Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation Briefs Pocahontas Commissioners
Andrew Hagy of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC) briefed the Pocahontas County Commissioners at their September 18th meeting. Hagy talked about their efforts to bring new businesses to Pocahontas County and to assist existing businesses to expand. Hagy said he recently attended a trade show in Atlanta and presented Pocahontas County at the Hardwoods Roundtable as being a good place for hardwood product companies to establish themselves. He said he talked to the Chief Operating Officer of North West Hardwoods about the potential of Pocahontas County as a desirable location for hardwood product companies. Hagy said the GBVEDC has also been assisting Interstate Hardwoods in their proposed expansion of its Pocahontas County buildings by assisting them in obtaining the property next to their current location. He said the GVEDC is also offering to assist Interstate Hardwoods with their workforce issues by helping them train new workers.
Hagy said he is also working with Brian Anderson, the Director of the WV Energy Institute and met with the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Dominium to see if it is feasible to tap into their natural gas pipeline which would bring a new source of energy to the Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Commissioner McLaughlin said if that happened it could destroy the Marlinton Southern States business which supplies LP gas to Snowshoe, however Hagy pointed out that the Natural Gas would not replace existing LP gas use, but would be used to convert the current electrically operated snowmaking machinery to operate on natural gas, which would save Snowshoe a lot of money. Hagy said the chances of this actually happening are still a long shot, but the WV Energy Institute is doing a feasibility study to see if a local distribution system could tap into the pipeline affordably. One of the other members of the GVEDC suggested that such a distribution system might also provide natural gas to Pocahontas County High School if Dominium would be willing to contribute to the community by providing a tap into the pipeline which runs very close to the school.
Hagy also said there have been several businesses expressing interest in leasing the Edray Building and they will be meeting with one of these this coming Thursday. He said they have also pitched that building at the hardwood trade show, and have featured it on the GVEDC’s website.
In other actions, The Commissioners granted a waiver of the ten-foot setback rule to David Cain to enable him to build a septic system on his lot in East Cass. Cain’s lot is next to county owned FEMA lots on both sides. The Commissioners pointed out that there would be no harm in this since those lots cannot be developed.
They approved the Pocahontas County Financial Statement for 2017-2018 as prepared by the County Clerk’s Office; approved the election workers; their wages; the polling place rental fees. and payments for school janitors at polling places located in County schools.
The Commissioners approved paying their 50% grant match of $134,533.84 to purchase new voting machines. They decided to make this a one-time payment rather than spread it out over several years. The new machines won’t be available to use in the upcoming election, but will be used in future elections. The Commissioners must still decide where to store them before they are delivered.
In addition, the Commissioners approved the annual Memorandum of Understanding with West Virginia University.
Bob Martin, the Commission’s Counsel, delivered his report to the Commissioners. Martin said he has been researching the IRS tax consequences of providing fringe benefit items to employees such as T-shirts and take-home cars.
In addition, Martin said he has drafted new rules for the County PSC and is also negotiating with the rental manager who owes about $70,000 in past due Hotel Occupancy Taxes to hopefully reach agreement on a payment schedule.