Pocahontas County Fire Departments Receive Clarification on How to Disperse Budgeted Funds
Representatives from the Durbin Volunteer Fire Department came to the Pocahontas County Commission meeting at the Courthouse in Marlinton on February 3rd, 2015. Although the 2014-2015 Budget had allotted $100,000 to the County’s Fire Departments, there had been no directives about how the 6 Fire Departments were to divide up the funds. There was confusion about whether the funds should be divided equally among the departments, or allocated based on how many calls a department responded to each year. The Pocahontas County Fire Association currently disperses the Hotel/Motel Tax money allotted to the fire Departments. The Commissioners voted to have the Fire Association also disperse these budgeted funds and decide on the fairest way to do that. The Fire Association will give the Commissioner records or cancelled checks showing how the money was dispersed.
In other Actions, the Pocahontas County Commission voted to partner with the Pocahontas County Health Department, the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District and the Pocahontas County Water Resource Task Force to support a new Department of Agriculture program. This program will provide assistance to residents and farmers in the Knapps Creek Watershed area to repair or replace failing septic systems. According to Grazia Apolinares, Water Resources Coordinator for Pocahontas County, the new program will involve $80,000 in Federal funds to pay for 75% of the cost of replacing or repairing failing septic systems, The owner of the system will pay the other 25% of the cost. The new program should be accepting applications within a month and details will be released soon about how to apply for this program.
The Commission received requests from two local organizations for contributions. Cara Rose of the Mountain Music Festival requested a contribution of $500.00 to support the program which is a great tourist draw in the county. Julia McCoy of the Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity requested a $5000.00 contribution to support their efforts to make critically needed repairs to three homes belonging to Pocahontas County residents. These residents are unable to afford the repairs on their own. The Commissioners voted to make both of these contributions.
Cynthia Guerri from the Pocahontas County Arts Council was on hand to protest a decrease in the percentage that the council receives from the Hotel/Motel Tax distribution. However the Commissioners advised her that these percentages were firmly set at the last Commission meeting and distributions based on those percentages have already begun for 2015. This makes it too late to consider the changes requested by the organization this year.
A claim by Sandra Webb against the Samuel David Elliott Estate had been dismissed because the claimant had failed to respond to a letter from the appointed Fiduciary (attorney Michael Doss) requiring her to post a bond in order to receive a hearing on the claim. Since the claimant stated she never received the letter, the Commissioner’s voted to allow Ms. Webb the opportunity to post the cash bond within 30 days and if she does so, she will be allowed a hearing on her claim.
The Commission received a demonstration of recent changes to the Pocahontas County Commission Website – www.pocahontascountycommission.com. This demo was made by the website designer, David Fleming. The Commissioners voted to retain their contract with Mr. Fleming’s company to host, and maintain the website. The Commissioners did request that the public forum page be eliminated as it could be used by citizens to post inappropriate comments or profanity, and the Commissioners do not have the resources to monitor it to timely remove these. The renewal involved a onetime $5000.00 and a yearly, maintenance charge of just under $200.00. In return, the Commission will receive 24/7 service should any problems develop, as well as back-up service and design service.
The Commissioners also agreed to advertise several bids. The first bid was for replacement of the carpet on the second floor of the Courthouse, including the courtroom. The second bid was for replacing the broken garage door on the old shoe factory which is currently being used by the Division of Forests, the Archery Team and the Animal Shelter.