Pocahontas County Commission Contributes to Two Local Non-Profits
At their February 2nd meeting, the County Commissioners received contribution requests from Art in Green Bank and Northern Pocahontas County Community Assistance.
Kathryn Gillispie asked for a five-thousand-dollar ($5,000) contribution to help them meet their expenses as they provide a physical location for their approximately thirty-five (35) artists to sell their products, as well as an on-line venue for those sales. Gillispie said she has made many personal financial sacrifices to provide artists with those platforms, and wants equal financial support from the commission to that received by the Pocahontas County Artisans Coop and the Pocahontas County Art Council. The commissioners said that those groups receive an allotment from the Hotel Occupancy Tax, while Art in Green Bank is requesting a contribution directly from taxpayer’s money from commission’s budget. When asked by Commissioner Jesse Groseclose why the three art groups in the county don’t consolidate their efforts, Gillispie indicated there are personality conflicts among them.
Connie Moore explained that Art in Green Bank supports art education in the schools and that is what the money will be used for. Despite their concerns that the three arts organizations are not working together, the commissioners granted the five-thousand-dollar ($5000) contribution request for this year.
Tony Byrd and John sparks of the Northern Pocahontas County Community Assistance asked for and received a five-thousand-dollar ($5000) contribution. Which they will put towards expanding the Green Bank Senior Citizens’ Center which needs more room to serve meals to Seniors and Veterans.
The commissioners discussed a letter received from Former Prosecutor Eugene Simmons’ lawyers in his lawsuit against the County Commissioner. The letter said the law firm is seeking to have the commission pay them Forty-eight thousand, eight hundred dollars ($48,800) for the legal fees Simmons incurred while defending himself from a complaint that then Commission Attorney Bob Martin filed against Simmons with the State Bar Lawyer’s Disciplinary Board. That board eventually dismissed Martin’s allegations against Simmons. The commission is fighting the lawsuit that would force the taxpayers to foot the bill for Simmons’ legal fees since they contend that they did not authorize Martin to file the complaint, and he did so as a private citizen. Simmons lawyers contend there is legal precedent for the county to pay those bills. The matter is now before the court to decide.
The commissioners said that George Murphy of Snowshoe has informed them that he has hired Lisa Cutlip as District Manager of the Snowshoe Resort Community district.
In addition, the commissioners agreed to provide the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) with a letter verifying that the CVB is the recipient of annual Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue. Cara Rose explained that the letter is required by Pendleton Community Bank to renew their line of credit. Rose also said that the Hotel Occupancy Tax Receipts were down by 14% as of November, but they are hopeful that deficit will shrink as the winter season continues.
In addition, the commissioners approved several small budget revisions and approved a resolution allowing the County Prosecutor’s Office to apply to recover unclaimed property from the WV State Treasurer’s Office.
The commissioners also discussed the former Howes Tannery Office Building in Frank. Commission President Walt Helmick said that he has now received two estimates from construction companies to repair and restore that county-owned building, and both are very expensive. Commissioner John Rebinski suggested that the commission possibly put out a request for bids (RFP) for that work and see if there is any group or organization in the northern part of the county willing to put that building to productive use if it is restored, and willing to maintain it.