Pocahontas Commission Considering Environmental Firm to Monitor Pipeline Construction

At their June 5th meeting, the Pocahontas County Commissioners heard from CORE Environmental Services, of Lewisburg who offered to do environmental monitoring of pipeline construction on behalf of Pocahontas County.  That company was involved in the clean-up at the Freedom Industries Chemical Spill near Charleston WV in 2014.

Audrey Sampson, CORE Project Manager and Matt Ford, the General Manager of Core Environmental’s West Virginia Operations offered to perform ongoing and independent on-site erosion and sediment control inspections and stormwater construction site inspections at the Atlantic Coast Pipeline’s Construction areas in the County.  CORE would operate independently on behalf of the Commission and would report violations directly to the WV Department of the Environment but would also offer solutions to the construction company to resolve or avoid problems.

The Commissioners said that if an affordable contract could be worked out with CORE Environmental to do this, they would be interested in providing this environmental protective service to the community. The Commission’s Attorney will meet with CORE Environmental and attempt to reach an affordable and effective service agreement.

In another matter, the Commissioners heard from Greg Hammonds of the Extension Service who represented the Pocahontas County Customer Supported Agricultural Program (or CSA) which collects locally grown products and helps market them to restaurants and other businesses. Hammonds said the CSA has to move out of its current location and asked to move their product collection operation and their coolers and freezers to the county owned Former Shoe Factory Building until they find a new location. Hammonds said they would pay any extra electricity costs this would generate.

The Commissioners said they could not do that because the CSA is a “for profit” operation and any use of a County building by such a company would cause the loss of the tax-exempt status on that portion of the building. Tom Lane, the County Assessor was at the meeting and verified that.  It was suggested that Hammond explore doing this through a non-profit organization such as the Farmers Market or even the Extension Service, to possibly avoid that problem. The County Commission’s Counsel, Bob Martin, offered to assist Hammond in looking at options.

In other actions, the Commissioners authorized County Assessor Tom Lane to use funds from his budget to hire a part-time Deputy Assessor to help collect personal property taxes. This would be a $12.00 an hour position with no benefits.

The Commissioners clarified that the County Hotel Occupancy Tax Ordinance authorizes the Sheriff’s Department to sue landlords who do not pay owed taxes without needing the Commission to authorize each enforcement action.

The Commissioners also authorized the Day Report staff to use the Day Report vehicle to transport program participants to treatments, trainings and Drug Court. They authorized their attorney to draft a letter to State officials authorizing this and supporting additional Day Report transportation in the future. This letter will help obtain future grant funding.

The Commissioners passed a resolution declaring June 15th as “Elder Abuse Awareness Day.”

In additional actions:

  • The Commissioners approved a Service Agreement with Frontier to provide County Agencies with internet access
  • Approved a Franchise agreement with Shentel to provide cable service to the County.
  • They authorized a Memorandum of Understanding with the Statewide Interoperable Radio Network agreeing to abide by their use requirements.
  • Appointed Linda Adams, Debra Gale, Keith Wood and Ruth Taylor to the County Drama, Fairs and Festivals Board.
  • Made a number of fiscal year ending budget adjustments which routinely occur at the end of each fiscal year to account for additional revenues received over those estimated.

Bob Martin, the Commission’s Counsel reported the following:

  • He has completed the Standard Operating Procedures manual for the 911 Center, which needs to be reviewed by the Commissioners
  • Martin pointed out that even though the Brunch Bill, which authorized 3 hour earlier (10 a.m.) Sunday sales of both Alcohol and Lottery Tickets, was approved by Pocahontas county voters in 2016, Martin discovered that the State produced ballot question only listed alcohol sales, not lottery sales. Martin interprets it that because of this omission of mentioning lottery ticket sales by the State on the ballot, that lottery tickets still cannot be sold on Sundays until 1 p.m. He said this was probably an error that affected the entire State, not just this County.
  • Martin also said the Commission needs to appoint three people to the Building Commission before June 30th as required by Statute.

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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