Pocahontas County Senior Citizens Program. – Prior Tax Delinquencies Resulted in large Fines

At the June 18th Pocahontas County Commission Meeting, Kayla Hinkle, the current Director of the county Senior Citizens Program, and Sue Hollandsworth, a member of the Senior Citizens Board were asked about that organization’s delinquent submission of Federal and State payroll taxes which has resulted in their paying fines. Hinkle said the late payment of those taxes occurred before she became the Director, and Hollandsworth said those late payments were the result of poor prior management. Hinkle added that part of the reason the payments were late was that their auditor was extremely behind in doing audits of the Senior Citizens finances, just recently completing the 2019 audit. She said there is now a new auditor.

Hinkle assured the commissioners that under new procedures, this tax delinquency, which resulted in about $50,000 in fines, will not happen again. Jay Miller asked them what source of money was used to pay the fines, and Hinkle replied that they used donation money to pay those.

The commissioners also discussed Commission President Walt Helmick’s suggestion that they terminate their exclusive agreement with Jamie Warner which has allowed he and his father before him, to make hay on the 90 acres of county owned hay field on the East Fork Property. Helmick said that two other farmers who have asked to also make hay on the property, with each of them and Warner being allowed to make hay on 1/3 of the hay field, or about 30 acres each. Helmick said this is only fair.

John Simmons spoke up supporting Jamie Warner, saying that Warner and his father worked hard over many years to improve the hay field by removing rocks, fertilizing, seeding and grading what was originally a very poor producing hay field, and now these two other farmers want to come in and benefit from all that hard work. Jamie Warner himself also spoke up and pretty much mirrored what Simmons said.

The other two farmers, Travis Vandevender and Allen Sisler, spoke up, saying that this is county land and as citizens they should also be allowed to make hay on part of it.

Commissioner Jamie Walker said by his calculation, the 90 acres produces about 160 bales of hay and if you divide that by 3, each farmer would get a little over 50 bales, which would not be worth their time and effort. He suggested the commission put the contract out on bid effective next year, but warned that other farmers could also bid on it. Commissioner John Rebinski added that if we allowed the other two people portions of the land out of a sense of fairness, what will happen if two or three additional farmers come next year also wanting their fair share of the hay field. Rebinski also said that the commissioners traditionally always reward contractors who do a good job year-after-year by renewing their contracts, and the Warners have done good job on those fields for 33 years, so the commissioners should allow Warner to continue making the hay on those fields. Helmick, for the second meeting in a row tabled a decision on this until the next meeting.

Additionally, the commissioners:

  • Approved a budget amendment for the BOE Office Building Demolition Project, and a grant amendment for it which extends the time limit for completion by one year, which should be more than enough time to complete it.
  • Allowed the Day Report Officer to work four ten -hour days a week, and required that all Day Report employees must work 40 hour a week to get annual and sick leave benefits.
  • Passed a motion to put the landfill deed in the name of the Solid Waste Authority even though the Commission is providing the purchase money.
  • Designated all banks with local branches in the county as FY 2024-2025 county depositories.
  • Agreed to pay Ethan Burgess $125.00 for each mowing he does at the Handley Campground.
  • Approved the hiring of David Burner as a part-time County Ambulance Driver at $13.00/hr.
  • Increased the Service of Process Fee from $25.00 to $30.00 to stay consistent with the state.
  • Set a special commission meeting to pay end-of-year bills for June 26th at 4:30 p.m.

They also approved 18 Board appointments involving 11 different commission boards prior to adjourning.

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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