Pocahontas Commissioners Adopt Towing Ordinance
The Pocahontas County Commissioners finally adopted an emergency towing ordinance at their Tuesday, August 18th meeting. At several prior meetings the proposed ordinance ended up being revised due to public comment and suggestions, mostly from area towing companies. Each of those revisions resulted in the necessity of restarting the first and second reading process of the ordinance.
The new ordinance, titled the “Pocahontas County Towing Ordinance” came about because West Virginia Code 24-6-12 required each county to adopt a towing ordinance which is “fair, prompt and equitable.”
The new ordinance requires that the 911 Center create a call list consisting of every registered towing company in the county. The initial list is set-up alphabetically by the name of the companies who will be dispatched in the order of the list. When the last company on the list has been dispatched, the list begins again from the top.
The law still allows for the owner of the vehicle which needs to be towed to request a specific towing company rather than the next one on the list, but requires the 911 Center to only dispatch emergency tows which have been officially called in by law enforcement or emergency services.
The new ordinance also does away with the practice of so called “scanner jumping” where a towing company hears a rival towing company being dispatcher so they rush to the scene to do the tow before the dispatched towing company arrives, in effect “stealing” the towing job.
The ordinance only applies to emergency tows where road blockage or other conditions require the immediate services of a tow truck and takes effect immediately.
Taking up another significant issue, t he Commissioners authorized 911 Director Mike O’Brien to obtain estimates for a new generator for the 911 Center, however they did not approve his request for the transfer of Gene Tracy from full time Dispatcher to being the Mapping and Addressing Coordinator and then hire another full time dispatcher to replace him. Instead, Commissioner Jamie Walker had a less expensive idea since there is no money budgeted to do what O’Brien wanted to do.
“What I would like to see is offer Gene a supplement of some form” said Walker. “Leave him as 911 Dispatcher basically as title goes but put him into a part time Mapping and Addressing Coordinator with maybe a 2 possibly a 3 thousand dollar supplement on top of what he is making, then hire a part-time or half time 911 Dispatcher.”
The Commissioners liked the idea and asked O’Brien to see if this would be acceptable to Gene Tracy and if so they could place this proposal on a future meeting agenda for consideration.
In other actions at Tuesday’s meeting:
Tammie Alderman introduced Kelly Fugate, the new Pocahontas County Day Report Officer, and gave her monthly update.
They approved Sheriff David Jonese’s request to purchase a new law enforcement vehicle for $28,503.00.
The Commissioners approved the following appointments:
- The appointment of Norma Judy to a five year term on the Pocahontas County Board of Health to expire on 6-30-2020..
- The appointment of Seth Morgan as the Shavers Fork Representative to the Pocahontas County Emergency Medical Services Authority to fill an unexpired term, to expire on 6-30-16.
- The appointment of Helen Clark As the WV Emergency Medical Provider Representative to the Pocahontas County 911 Advisory Board for a three year term to expire June 30, 2018.
- The appointment of Terry White to the Mountain Resource and Conservation Development for a three year term expiring 6-30-18.
- Appointments of Brenda Doss, Judy Fuller and Bert Krieps to 3 year terms on the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation to expire on 6-30-18.