Pocahontas County Commission Will Have A Few Changes This Year
Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Commission President David Fleming says feedback about the recent change to some evening Commission meetings has been mostly positive.
“There is a concern about how we will reorganize our staffing during the evening hours; will that cost us more money, will we use comp time” says Fleming. “These are very good questions and I’m sure we can figure these out. I put out a question to the County Commissioners Association of West Virginia list serve, have gotten numerous responses back, and it looks like some counties do comp time for their administrative assistants. [There’s] no counties that I’ve seen that pay overtime, so that’s encouraging.”
This was one topic of discussion during the January edition of Commissioners Corner, a monthly live show with the Pocahontas County Commissioners. Fleming says Commission administrative assistant Sue Helton is also contacting Bath County for advice, as all of the Bath Board of Supervisors meeting are held in the evening. The Pocahontas County Commission meets twice a month, on the first and third Tuesday, and until recently, only during the day.
At the January 4th meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission, they voted to move the second monthly meeting to the evening in order to be more accessible to county residents who may be unable to attend the usual day meetings. Fleming says he’s also heard from other elected officials.
“In talking with the [Pocahontas] County Clerk, Missy Bennett, she has said she’s perfectly capable and willing and wanting to be at the evening meetings along with us, so there’s no problem there” he says “so I look forward to January 18th, having our first evening meeting at 5pm. During the day meetings we’ve scheduled the agenda items for about 30 minutes a piece; I think that format’s not really going to work for the evening schedule, so what we’re going to try is to have a 15 minute per item schedule [and] not actually schedule specific time slots; just start at five and have a list of items and run through them as we can.”
He acknowledges that this is a learning process for all involved, but says it’s the right thing to do.
Fleming is also thinking about upcoming budget talks with other offices in the courthouse. These discussions, never easy, may be even more difficult this year because of a decrease in county revenue.
“Our Assessor, Dolan Irvine, is telling us on the order of about $160,000.00 decrease in tax revenue, give or take about ten thousand” says Fleming. “So that is roughly 8% or so of the tax revenue budget. I think what we’re going to have to be looking at for each of our departments is what we can do to reduce our budgets where we can, in specific line items. We’re all going to have to tighten our belts; this is getting into some difficult times and next tax year is going to be worse, because the evaluations are even lower.”
He says that could also mean no raises for county employees this year.
In addition to the evening meetings, Commissioner Fleming is also planning changes for the County Commissions website.
“A couple of things I’ve put on the website, it’s www.pocahontascountycomission.com, there’s now a feature where people can sign up, and by doing that you will receive email alerts when content on the website changes” he says. “Another feature I put on the website is a discussion forum, so that we can begin to discuss and interact with citizens.”
The first evening meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission will be Tuesday, January 18th at 5pm at the courthouse in Marlinton.