Pocahontas Commission OK’s 911 Center Paying ½ the Cost of Assessor’s Aerial Imagery

Mike O’Brien, the Director of the Pocahontas County 911 Center, asked the County Commissioners at their March 5th meeting for permission to pay half of the cost of the Assessor Office’s Aerial Imaging of the County. Tom Lane, the County Assessor, told the Commissioners that every five years or so, his office has an aerial photographic image taken of the entire County to assist them in doing their assessments. The last Aerial Imaging of the county was done in 2015 at a cost of $89,000. For the one he intends to do now they will utilize a State contract at about half the cost of the 2015 Aerial Image. He said that despite the reduced cost, he does not have the funds in his budget to pay the entire amount, and would like the 911 Center to pick up half the cost.  Mike O’Brien said 911 extensively uses the Assessor’s images but has never contributed towards the cost before, but he has the funds to pay half the cost, or $21,172.50. Since this money will come out of 911 Grant funds, the Commissioners approved it.

County Clerk Melissa Bennett presented the Commission with a Revised Financial Statement for the 2017 -2018 Fiscal Year and asked for their approval of it.  Bennett explained that the revisions are required by the State and only involve newly required state changes to the format, but all the numbers remain unchanged. The Commissioners gave their approval.

County Courthouse Custodian Roger Ober asked the Commissioners for authorization to replace a two-thousand-gallon underground heating oil tank that services the jail building. He explained that its integrity is breached allowing water and sediment to contaminate the heating oil it contains, threatening to damage the furnaces. He also said that there is an unused concrete pad near the jail that could be used to put a replacement double walled 2000-gallon tank above ground, which is cheaper to do. Ober acknowledged that they will still have to remove the damaged underground tank and clean up any spillage from it, but they would have to do that anyway. The Commissioners authorized Ober to look into companies and costs to do this and get back to them.

The Commissioners held a discussion with 911 Director Mike O’Brien about 911 street signs for private roads. Several years ago, the Commission was given estimates that it would cost hundreds of thousand dollars to do. O’Brien said that four-hundred and fifty-six signs need to be placed on private roads. O’Brien said it would cost the 911 Center about $26,000 to purchase the signs, posts and hardware, and he believes the entire project including materials, sign printing and installation could be done for about $65,000 or less – much cheaper than the earlier estimates. The Commissioners authorized O’Brien to continue to look into this project while they continue to look into passing a signage ordinance.

The Commissioners approved a Resolution regarding fiscal accountability. This was conceived by their Counsel, Bob Martin as a way to prevent future large accumulating charges against the Commission such as the large vehicle towing and storage invoices they agreed to pay at their last meeting The Resolution   mandates that anytime any county employee or any law enforcement personnel -including State Police “engage for any county purpose, any vender or provider of services” that employee or law enforcement officer is required to give a copy of this resolution to the vender. The vender is required to notify the County Commission within 10 days that this transaction has occurred, and must send invoices every 30 days to the Commission. The venders will forfeit their payment they fail to comply with the required notices to the Commission.

The Commissioners also passed a set of Rules of Procedures for the Commission. At the last meeting, john Leyzorek had expressed objections to what he perceived as the Commissioners limiting public input on agenda items to just at the Hear Callers portion of the meetings. At this meeting, Martin addressed those concerns, clarifying that the public could be allowed to comment on agenda items up to the time that a motion is made. Commission President McLaughlin said he wanted to assure the public that while the Commission retains the right to control public comment at meetings, they remain committed to maintain very open opportunities for the public to discuss their concerns about agenda items.

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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