Pocahontas County Commission Prepares for the 2020 U.S. Census

At their May 7th meeting, the Pocahontas County Commissioners, following a request from Carol Cain Bush of the U.S. Census Bureau, and in preparation for the upcoming 2020 National Census, created a Census Committee, known formally as a “Complete Count Committee.”  Bush had explained to the Commissioners that the purpose of the Committee is to increase the number of Pocahontas County Citizens who return the initial census questionnaire. Those will go out starting in March of 2020. Reminders in the form of letters and postcards will follow through April and May of 2020. After that, the Census Enumerators (a fancy term for census Takers) will come calling to those who have not responded by mail, phone or Internet.

Bush said parts of Pocahontas County have historically had a low participation rate in the Census, especially in the Northern part of the County. She pointed out that participating in the Census is our patriotic duty, since the U.S. Constitution mandates that the Census be taken every ten years. She also said that the census population numbers determine the number of U.S. Congressional Districts there are in West Virginia and determine what share of 675 Billion Dollars in Federal Aid money will be allotted to the State. So, a low turnout on the census could cost West Virginia one of more Congressional Representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and lots of federal money for programs here.

The Census committee will be made up of community members willing to encourage their fellow residents to return the questionnaires. They will do this by holding Census kick-off meetings, media notifications, rallies, parades and youth forums in the schools. They will also help recruit local Census Workers.

Bush said that the Census Bureau is now accepting applications for Census workers on-line at “www.2020census.gov/jobs” or by calling 1-855-JOB-2020. The pay rate ranges from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour.

The Commission not only approved forming a census Committee, but set another meeting with Bush to brainstorm the best way to establish the committee. That meeting will occur at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 2nd following their regular Commission Meeting.

During the Commission Mail Items and concerns portion of the meeting, Sue Helton said that the Development Office sent them a letter informing the Commission that the Frank-Bartow Sewer Project has been denied.

911 Director Mike O’Brien also appeared before the Commissioners to request them to approve two contracts with Lauttamus Communications to repair 911 radios -one for the Dunmore area and one for the Snowshoe area. O’Brien explained that they have been having serious problems communicating on the Law enforcement 911 frequencies from those areas. He added that Lauttamus Communications is the first company that seems to both know how to work with the Green Bank Observatory’s Quiet Zone to get the problems fixed and be willing to do so. The Commissioners approved the Durbin Contract with Lauttamus in the amount of $12,584.75 and the Snowshoe Contract in the amount of $14,950.00. These will be paid for out of the $410,000 annual cell phone tax revenues received by the 911 Center.

George Murphy of the Snowshoe Resort Community District provided the Commissioners with an update on the District. He said that now that the Resort Community District has finalized its Bylaws, the “real work has begun.” Murphy said they are holding Precinct meetings weekly and are finalizing their budget, and their challenge is that they have so many things to do, they need to prioritize. Roads seem to be a high priority. Murphy also said they have been collecting fees, and anticipate collecting about $800,000 per year in fees.

Be sure to listen for part two about this Commission meeting where we will tell you about all the other things that happened during the May 7th Pocahontas County Commission Meeting.

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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