Pocahontas Commission Takes Steps Supporting the Broadband Council’s Efforts

At their January 18th meeting, the Pocahontas County Commissioners took two actions that will support the Broadband Council’s efforts to increase high speed internet Service availability in the county. First, they approved City Net’s bid to become the official Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the areas to receive new broadband service under the already approved Appalachian Regional Commission (or ARC) Broadband Grant. They also approved the Authorized Representative Request (ARR) and the required resolution for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Reconnect Round 3 Grant application, which will be submitted shortly. The Reconnect Grant, if approved, would bring broadband service to a large area of Pocahontas County.

The commissioners also approved an engineering contract with Becker-Morgan for the HVAC and Roof Project at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital.

Additionally, they issued an order regarding changes to the Magisterial Precincts involving consolidating a portion of Precinct 12 with Precinct 13 and Precinct 15 in the Central Magisterial District and creating a new Precinct 22in the Southern District, and approved changes caused by redistricting due to the 2020 Census changes, which will involve splitting the county into two House Districts, with about 2/3 of the county’s population sharing a House District with Greenbrier County, and 1/3 will be aligned with Randolph County.

At the request of the property owner, the commissioners approved a Mitigation/Reconstruction Grant application of a home and property in Frost that was severely damaged in the June, 2021 flood.  If that application is approved, the home can be rebuilt with 75% Federal Funds and 25% State funds with no cost or obligation to Pocahontas County.

They approved removal of a non-responsive estate representative in the Estate of Alfred C. Ervine.

The commissioners reviewed the 2022 Hotel Occupancy Tax allotments and left them the same as they were in 2021, except, at Commissioner Rebinski’s suggestion they increased the allotment to the Bricks and Mortar Fund to $30,000 instead of the $20,000 in 2021. They also left the percentages unchanged for disbursement of the remaining tax received.

They discussed the issue of the removal of the 4 storage tanks at East Fork which were purchased by Kenneth Varner but never removed from the county-owned property. Commissioner Rebinski said that Varner has informed him that he has removed the only usable fiberglass tank, and doesn’t want the other 2 fiberglass tanks as they are filled with a solid substance. He said he still wants the steel tank but asked if he could leave it there until June. The commissioners agreed to tell him that they will remove the steel tank if they need to use the property, but that will most likely not be before June.

In other actions, the commissioners:

  • Did a First Reading of the Second Amended Towing Ordinance
  • Approved the MTA to park their vehicles at the former Hanover Shoe Building.
  • Appointed Commissioner John Rebinski to the Region 1 Local elected Officials Board of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA.)
  • Appointed Sgt. Joseph Cromer to the Pocahontas County E911 Advisory Board, replacing Keith Corley.
  • Approved County Prosecutor Terri Helmick to hire Jamie Hill as a temporary replacement for an employee on long-term disability at $15.00 per hour, effective February 1, 2022.

Additionally, during the Mail Items, it was revealed that Laura Young of the Family Resource Network has relinquished her request for American Rescue Plan funding under the Replacing lost public sector money due to COVID provision as she understands that her request doesn’t qualify under that provision.

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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