Pocahontas Commission Approves Library Proposal
At their September 19th, 2017 meeting, the Commissioners received a proposal from the Pocahontas County Free Libraries which is designed to officially allow the Pocahontas County Libraries to lawfully continue to receive funds from the County Commission’s Hotel-Motel Tax. This proposal would accomplish this by designating the Libraries as “Visitor Information Centers” since virtually every day they serve as such by answering visitor’s questions about the County and by providing directions and guidance to tourists. “Visitors’ Centers” are organizations that are qualified to receive Hotel-Motel Tax money, while simple “libraries” are not included in West Virginia Law as agencies qualified to receive those tax proceeds.
In the proposal, the Libraries would:
- Change the name of the organization from the “Pocahontas County Free Libraries” to the “Pocahontas County Libraries and Tourist or Visitor Centers.” The decision of whether to use the word “Tourist” or “Visitor” in the official name is still under discussion by the Library Board, but the commissioners were assured the name include either “Tourist Information Center” or “Visitor Information Center.”
- Alter their hours to possibly be open on Saturdays, budget permitting.
- Post the new name and that free WIFY is available outside of each branch.
- Place racks of tourist information and brochures in each branch.
- Increase offered services by renting equipment such as fishing gear and bicycles for visitors.
- And have the Pocahontas Convention and Visitors Bureau provide training to the Library Staff to enable them to better serve as tourist information providers.
The Commissioners voted to approve of this proposal, but said that they cannot vote to permanently continue the funding until the proposal has been implemented., but they agreed to temporarily continue the current funding until that happens, possibly as soon as January 1st, 2018.
In other actions, The Commissioners voted a fifty-five cent per five hundred dollars increase in the County portion the Excise Tax, making the new rate a dollar and sixty-five cents per five hundred dollars. The new rate will take effect for all real estate transactions occurring after January 1, 2018. An increase in a County’s portion of the Excise Tax was authorized by the State Legislature last session.
The Commissioners voted to allow the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce to use a portion of the Former Shoe Factory Building for their annual Haunted House in October
The Commissioners heard a presentation from Bob Ashley, Governor Justice’s Legislative Director and from Division of Highways District Engineer, James A. Rossi about the governor’s proposed “Roads to Prosperity” Road Bond which would provide extra funds to repair smaller roads in every West Virginia County, if the Road Bond is passed at the October 7th Special Election. Ashley extolled the benefits of this increased road funding, while Rossi talked about how the money would be spent to help Pocahontas County. The Pocahontas Times, on its September 21st front page shows a map of the road improvements in Pocahontas County that are proposed if the Bond passes.
Donald McNeel, the Pocahontas County Floodplain Coordinator, told the Commissioners that there is a need to add a fee schedule to the County Floodplain Ordinance so that floodplain permit fees can help pay the cost of the needed inspections. McNeel said he was more interested in having permit fees for large companies such as the Pipeline construction companies rather than adding a permit fee for individual homeowners’ permits. McNeel said these pipeline companies are creating huge equipment storage lots in the floodplains, and will require multiple lengthy inspections to ensure compliance with the terms of their permits.
The Commissioners approved the County Clerk’s 2016 -2017 County Financial Statement and approved granting a Right of Entry for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to conduct a Phase 1 Environmental Study for the Interstate Hardwoods Building Site in the East Fork Industrial Park.
The meeting ended with the signing of invoices.