Pocahontas Commissson approves new Day Report Center lease
Marlinton, W.Va. – The Pocahontas County Commission held an emergency meeting Friday morning to consider a new lease for the Community Corrections Day Report Center.
During its meeting on December 18, the commission approved moving the center from the McK Building on Third Avenue in Marlinton to the county-owned ARC Building on Second Avenue.
The ARC Building is under lease to John Fitzgerald and J.P. Duncan until August 31. The current Day Report Center lease from Chittum Land Development expires December 31.
Fitzgerald and Duncan were present at Friday morning’s meeting and Zach Chittum participated via speakerphone. Commissioner Martin Saffer was not present.
The commission approved an eight-month sub-lease from the ARC partners for a 25×40-foot office at a cost of $400 per month, including utilities.
Chittum complained that the commission had not provided sufficient notice to terminate the current lease and demanded two months additional rent. Chittum told the commission he was surprised and that a new $570 lease he proposed earlier this month was fundamentally unchanged.
Commissioner Jamie Walker asks Chittum about the proposed lease.
“A minute ago, you had made the statement that the lease was still the same as it has always had been – that there was no changes made to it,” he said. “The old lease, that we had with Mr. Kellison, is a one-page lease. The new proposal, the you proposed to us with, is about six or seven pages, maybe more than that. So, I don’t understand how there was no changes made, when you go from one page to multiple pages.”
Incoming Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Simmons notes a new clause in Chittum’s proposed lease.
“He does, in part D of that lease, he says that the lessor shall be entitled to an increase in the rent on each one-year anniversary of the lease, due to increases,” he said. “So, he does have a built-in automatic lease, in regards to the addition to it.”
Simmons told the commission that one-month’s notice is customary and that the commission could be found liable for one month’s rent to Chittum.
Community Corrections Director Robert Tooze said all office equipment could be moved by the end of the month, but that phone, fax and internet service had not been ordered for the new location. The director said propane heat would need to be installed at the new office.
Commissioner David Fleming proposed paying Chittum one additional month’s rent. Fleming said it was fair to Chittum and would provide more time to set up the new Day Report office.
Walker expresses his opinion.
“You know, I’m not in favor of renting two buildings for the same problem,” he said. “To me, we discussed this two weeks ago. We considered it. I went and worked on it. I thought we had it worked out. I think we should move, myself.”
“The information today is that Mr. Tooze has to get some stuff hooked up, communications, phone, internet,” he said. “The heater is questionable. And we have Mr. Chittum, who’s a business partner who’s invested in Pocahontas County. And I think, at this point, what I’ll do – I’ll just go ahead and move that we enter into an agreement with Mr. Chittum for renting from him for the month of January and give 30 days notice today. This is a motion.”
Fleming’s motion died for lack of a second. Tooze said the Day Report Center would be moved by the end of the month and that he would order all necessary services. Fleming said a newly composed commission would reconsider the one-month payment to Chittum during its next regular meeting on January 3.