Pocahontas Commission Offers to Return Green Bank Area Property to the Board of Education
A heated discussion arose during the Pocahontas County Commission meeting Tuesday evening (9-15-15) as the Commissioners asked for public input about returning the ownership of the former Slaven property in the Green Bank Industrial Park back to the Pocahontas County Board of Education.
Back in the 1990’s, the Board of Education had transferred the property to the County Commission but placed “Economic Development” restrictions on the property. These restrictions allowed the Commission to only sell the property to prospective buyers who would use the property to promote jobs and economic growth. Other then the Jacob Meck Construction company which bought a portion of the property, the rest of the property has remained vacant and unused since no qualified buyer has been found.
After the Board of Education refused the Commission’s request to remove the restrictions a few months ago, the Commission decided to explore returning the property to the Board who would not be restricted under the deed since they were the ones who placed the restrictions on the deed.
Emery Grimes, President of the School Board attended Tuesday’s Commission meeting and indicated that the Board of Education would consider taking the property back if such a proposal was made and placed on a Board meeting agenda. Michael O’Brien, the Office Manager for the Jacob Meck Construction Company also attended and indicated that they would be interested in purchasing or leasing up to 9 adjoining acres for use as a badly needed parking lot.
The verbal fireworks occurred when Norman Alderman began a long winded personal attack on the Jacob Meck Construction Company. Commission President Bill Beard had to regain order of the meeting. Once that was done, the Board passed a motion to offer the property back to the Board of Education. Once the Board receives the proposal, they will vote on it at a Board meeting.
In other actions, the Commission:
• Approved a settlement of $3000.00 of the Laura Combs Wage Claim. The details of this were discussed in closed Executive Session.
• Approved increasing the salary of Allen Tracy, the new 911 Mapping and Addressing Coordinator whose duties will still include being a 911 dispatcher when needed.
• Approved the hiring of Bridget Shaw as a Part-Time 911 dispatcher on an as needed basis at $10.00 per hour.
• Approved a bid to purchase a new 22KW Air cooled generator for the 911 Center from D & C Construction Company for an installed price of $8005.00.
• Received a Day Report Center brief from Tammie Alderman which indicated that the Center saved the County $26,000 in August through it’s program offering an alternative to jail for criminal offenders.
• Received a report from bob Martin, the Commission’s Counsel. Martin reported that he will be putting on a sexual harassment in the workplace seminar for all County employees in October. He also reported that he has made arrangements to have the building near the courthouse inspected. Attorney Saffer has offered it to the County, however the Commissioners want to see the results of a building inspection before accepting it.
• Approved payment of an extra $2946.00 to the company replacing the roof at the old jail building. While that work was being done it was discovered that the windows also needed painting and repairs, which the extra money will take care of.
• Voted to send a letter to the City of Marlinton asking them to remove the wood chips they had placed on the old shoe factory building’s parking lot by October first.
• Declined to offer the requested letter of support regarding state based food labeling laws, at least until they learn more about this issue.
• Voted to send a letter to the owner of the Fas Check coolers which are stored at the old shoe factory building requiring them to be removed by November 1.
• Appointed Mike Holstine as the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Representative to the Pocahontas County Local Emergency Planning Committee for the remainder of an unexpired term to 9-30-16.
• Appointed Herby Barlow as the WV State Police representative to the Pocahontas County Local Emergency Planning Committee for a three year term to 9-30-18.
A discussion about Courthouse security by County Magistrate Carrie Wilfong had been on the agenda, but was not done because Wilfong had informed the Commission that the issue had been settled prior to the meeting.