Gilmer County Vision Meeting Report – 911 Center - 07.19.12
The second Visions Meeting was hosted by the Gilmer County Commission Tuesday evening July 19, 2012 at the Gilmer County Senior Center.
Turnout was similar to the last meeting with widespread County representation.
The question of the evening was whether or not 911 should be brought back to Gilmer County and if so, how should a new building for 911 Dispatch and the Office of Emergency Services, necessary equipment and training be paid for.
Gilmer County Commission President Brian Kennedy offered two solutions:
• One he strongly favored was by a levy tax voted by the citizens for a four year period collecting an amount described as being 6-8 million dollars for a turnkey operation. However, he stated he had discovered there were some people having a hard time during his travels caused by the storm and long term power outage, and he was beginning to think that over.
But, in his words, “most of those people don’t vote anyway”.
• The second method offered to pay for returning the 911 center back to Gilmer County would be bond financing paid by the County Commission using 911 fees and tax dollars.
Kennedy stated he feared the county going into debt for 15 years.
At that point the topic was open for public discussion.
Some spoke and expressed their opinion about the issue, but All present but one voted by a show of hands in favor of returning 911 to Gilmer County and Commission financing as the method of payment.
All but one speaker pointed out that this was not a condemnation of Lewis County who had done us a service but using Gilmer County citizen paid fees and tax dollars to support Gilmer County.
When the question was raised as to how Gilmer County 911 went to Lewis County in the first place President Kennedy’s response was that this was past history and could not be changed.
One Gilmer County resident who is employed by Lewis County 911 objected and would not in any way support its return.
There was conversation regarding the use of ‘Rainy Day’ funds to bring down borrowing costs and paying for the building.
All in all, majority consensus indicated bringing back 911 could not happen overnight but would be a much needed stimulus for our own declining economy.
In the end, Commissioner Darrell Ramsey said as far as he was concerned, the information gathered from the public meetings, 911 should be brought back and county financed.
Commission President Kennedy said “not yet”, the people’s will was unclear as he was aware of a block of about 150 citizens he would not name who were not present but that did not support bringing back 911 to Gilmer County at all.
Ultimately, it was decided by the Commission President that a public poll should be taken through Dave Ramezan of the Gilmer Free Press and Dave Corcoran of the Glenville Democrat/Pathfinder.
It was pointed out that (unlike the school levy poll) this poll should be placed in both papers as the Glenville Democrat only goes out to subscribers, many who live out of the area, and the Pathfinder is the newsstand copy available to all Gilmer County citizens.
The poll questions to be asked were basically:
• Should 911 be brought back to Gilmer County?
• If brought back should a levy be voted on to pay for it?
• If brought back should it be paid by Commission bond financing and payment?
As the meeting came to a close Gilmer County Commissioners were reminded that it would be their own interpretation of the will of the people making the ultimate decision since their vote as Elected Officials on this issue will be the decision of record.
I think in order to cast a vote, one should have the knowledge of whether Lewis County is doing a good job or not handling our calls?
Are there facts to support their performance? That should be a factor of concern.
Comment by Annon on 07.23.2012
Before proceeding with a 911 decision Brian Kennedy needs to officially explain how the County’s utility bonds he and Chapman pushed through in the amount of more than $30,000,000 to Glenville State College for Pioneer Village and Goodwin Hall could impact any new debt for the County. Right now citizens do not know financial details about the utility bonds including how a default in payment by the College would do to the County’s finances including its ability to raise new money.
Comment by Blacky Jones on 07.23.2012
It seems to me, that in the recent past, Peter Barr showed up with some CARPET BAGGER lawyers and refinance an even worse BOND deal than before, and I also recall that this initiative, and situation came unannounced and was ushered in an out like an abortion for one of the Power Elite Children, too late, too fast, and too expensive!
Kennedy was an accomplice on that deal, and he is an accomplice to the demise of Gilmer County as well. Gilmer will be destroyed under the leadership of Brian Kennedy.
The only thing that could save the citizens now, is prayer and immediate action!!
Comment by Council of Concerned Citizens on 07.23.2012
Why would we vote for a levy to pay this?
The income that is mandated by law (think all ready added to your phone bill) would pay for this same as it has paid for the current 911 center.
The income has been so great, that the Lewis 911 center has way more money than they need to operate even.
The “excuse” the commission “doesn’t want the debt” is really lame.
The “levy tax” proposed by Commissioner Kennedy, would just be MORE money—-piled on top of the income that would automatically be generated from phone bills. It would be nothing but a windfall for the commissioners to spend…..and for citizens to pay.
Thats NOT ‘'common sense’‘ Mr Commissioner.
The “levy tax” is plain wrong.
Comment by keep diggin' y'all on 07.23.2012
We all know that you are a nephew of Attorney Butcher.
Do we have any reason to think that you would NOT be doing what is in the BUTCHER clans’ best interest? Yes, families do tend to stick together.
It is plain to see with the school mess, that the Butcher clan is working very to “take care of themselves”.
Aunt Nasia kept on the job via Charleston DOE county take over.
Arbuckle property being pushed through the crony elite gang. Butcher lawyers will receive a handsome fee for their service if sold. Even Mrs IL Morris says that property is wrong.
By the push of the Arbuckle property, the Butcher owned old auction barn property will get water, utilities, and great road access thus increasing that property value.
Sooo—-you have 150 backward thinking people who don’t want the 911 center to come back to Gilmer? But—-not ONE of them could find the time or exert the effort to appear? Is that a fairy tale?
How about you show the community that elected you, that you have OUR best interest at heart? That is what you are being paid to do.
This will be YOUR opportunity to show us. We are watching your every move.
Comment by anonymous on 07.23.2012
Kennedy is pushing for the levy because he knows it will not pass. Simply Kennedy and those who run him do not want 911 center here since they are in the project to make their share.
Comment by What a shame on 07.23.2012
With levy our taxes increases. With bond it does not.
Comment by think about it on 07.23.2012
If Kennedy already knew how another 150 people felt then why did he call to have the vision meeting? Who are these people who did not have the guts to come to the meeting and sent their puppet kennedy to speak for them? If decisions are made by the clowns behind the scene, then it is waste of concerned citizens’ time to have these meetings? What about the other two commissioners? Do they agree with kennedy? If not then they have the 2-1 vote.
Comment by an upset citizen on 07.23.2012
What a disgusting shame for Kennedy to assume the poor people will not vote anyway.
Comment by Jenney O. on 07.23.2012
Have the comissioners along with the Lewis 911 people, made public and explained, the entire financial picture?
Or are we just talking raising taxes and borrowing money, in an attempt to talk the project into the grave?
It is public record that there was a discussion, rather an attempt, to bring 911 back previously, and former Comission Larry Chapman was absolutely against that move.
Do we know where everyone running for Commissioner(both announced and unannounced) stand on this issue? They should be wanting to go on record in an issue as important at this.
Is this issue being discussed at these Vision meetings just to give the illusion that the public has some input, but the deal will be done in the usual dark, hidden manner?
Norma Hurley likely would have a good idea of the financials in this discussion due to her being county bookkeeper.
Maybe Mr Ramazon would invite a statement from each current commissioner as well as those seeking the office in the November election?
Comment by Anonymous For a Reason on 07.23.2012
Two public meetings in total agreement to bring it back and borrow the money but he’ll wait for a vote until his buddy gets back on the Commission. Then it won’t matter and between the two and this silent, invisible “block” they will vote it down.What kind of financial mess do they really have the county in? How much debt did they back up? I read where the couple wants their money back for their foundation when someone at the courthouse didn’t know how to read a flood plain map and why would the BOE have to loan the county $25,000 for an air conditioner and get paid back in rent? Somethings rotten in Denmark. We pay millions in taxes each year as a County and all we’re supposed to get is salaries? My suggestion to you Kennedy is get this right for once. You might learn that poverty is not a contagious disease, not everybody who votes is rich and besides that, you didn’t get your truck dirty enough to come down the real hollers. You didn’t check on any of us but we passed you on the paved road.
Comment by Just a Tax Payer on 07.23.2012
How many jobs will be created bringing the 911 center back to Gilmer? What is the average monthly pay for the workers? How much revenue would the center create for the county? In my mind these are the important questions that should considered in determining the future of 911.
I have to ask this question since someone brought it up. Can believe this would even be brought into the discussion.
What advantage to the Butchers does the 911 center create remaining in Lewis Co?
Comment by Roy Jones on 07.23.2012
The land line assessment averaged a little over $5,000 a month and cellular over $100,000 per quarter so around $550,000 a year or better comes in as 911 fees. It’s my understanding talking with Ed Messenger that the cellular fees have to be paid for 911 and of course it only makes sense that Lewis County would have to be paid until we were up and running but the land line fees could go toward a building. I believe the financing payment is estimated about $75,000 a year so the county shouldn’t have to use too much of the general fund which would be a good use of tax dollars. It could be paid off early with no penalty if the income justifies. The salary rates weren’t available but said they are thinking 10-13 per hr. Nothing is cast in stone as no official decision has been made to bring it back.
Comment by NJH on 07.23.2012
Hey, just wanted to add that the $75,000 annual would cover building completion. I know there was discussion of $150,000 possibly coming out of Charleston. My suggestion was to put $350,000 out of Rainy Day/OPEB remainder for another half million. Whether they have discussed to lease equipment or have other funding sources through economic development or federal agencies I do not know. You might contact Angel or Tim at the courthouse for real numbers. Basic employees would cover 3 shifts seven days a week, a Director/Administrator and likely an assistant for 24 hr availability plus secretarial so you can do a little rough figuring of needs. A bonding agent was at the Rec Center meeting but rates change almost daily on those things so it would take a firm commitment to see actual figures and would probably have to go to bid and the cost for building would have to be prevailing wage rates. It’s a big task no doubt but we sure could use some economic growth around here.
Comment by NJH on 07.23.2012
to Roy Jones:
GSC president Barr has made statements he likes to look into getting a possible grant if the 911 center is put in Morris criminal center. I hope this is enough for you to see why Butchers do not want this plan to succeed at this time. Another grant,... more money in elites control.
Comment by Not hard to figure out on 07.23.2012
Not hard to figure out.
No, your statement doesn’t make any sense to me.
Comment by Roy Jones on 07.24.2012
Well, ‘da cats outta ‘da bag now, huh?
That big sucking sound that comes from the top of the hill still working?
Common Sense wouldn’t tell the citizens “who” his “block of 150” was huh?
They are not against bringing the 911 center back, its just that the cubie elites want it in “their” building so as they can capture a revenue stream? And they are just not quite ready for it to happen yet. And then, all of the sudden the secretive “block of 150” would be “for” bringing it back to the county?
Lets give the politically operated, cubie elite operated college, another chunk of our Gilmer County? Don’t think so.
And the elites’ nephew was ready to play the game for them? Roy, you see how this game is played now?
Looks like the citizens may have interrupted another back room good old boys deal that is in the making? Its so easy to do here in Gilmer.
Is this the “transparency” you have been talking about Comissioner? lol
Oh ya’. Don’t get fooled into going along with the old saying, “if its good for the college, its good for Gilmer County”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We know now that politics and money rule the college and school district, we don’t need an arm of emergency services being beholding to local elites control too.
Comment by keep diggin' y'all on 07.24.2012
Unfortunately any grant help so far from the college has helped pay for their employees. Where is the Gilmer County EDA? I think the price Kennedy gave of 6-8 million is high for a beginning operation. We need to see the estimates in writing and the Commission should advertise them along with their poll.
Comment by A Tax Payer on 07.24.2012
To A Tax Payer
You so right. The commission need to spell out the actual figures to the public for both levy and bond before a poll or a decision is made. let’s not make this another secret deal like the $28,000,000.00 deal Chapman and Kennedy made with GSC. We need to know the details. How about it Ramsey and Shoal?
Comment by Another Taxpayer on 07.24.2012
As a candidate for county commissioner, I have supported returning 911 dispaching to Gilmer County since 2006. I believe there is a much less expensive way to accomplish the task by using an existing building and initially purchasing used equipment.
Let’s get a 911 center up and running as soon as possible as cheaply as possible. That means the county will be keeping that half a million dollars much faster. As that accumulates, a longer term effort can plan a new facility and not incur higher financing costs.
I don’t have the information the current commissioners have. Still, from what I’ve found, I don’t know why a 911 center couldn’t be operating in a year or less.
Comment by Darren Feit on 07.24.2012
What have Dr. Barr, the Butchers, and the Board of Governors done to make the College rank top place or close to it in WV for specific four-year academic fields? They are invited to answer the question and to back up their claims with facts which can be validated to be true. If the College excels as claimed, WV students would be flocking here and our economy would be booming. We need a major house cleaning at the College to get competent administrators. The place has become vulnerable to the looming budget crisis when the State must make hard decisions about which colleges to fund and those to eliminate.
Comment by JB Jackson on 07.24.2012
Can we clear up this mystery? Every time something of significance surfaces in Gilmer County, similar to the current 911 issue, the topic swings to what do the Butcher lawyers want? Why does this occur? Do they have power from being revered individuals, are they major campaign contributors to give them extraordinary clout with WV politicians, do they possess special intellects to establish themselves as oracles in the minds of the Country’s citizens, are they feared for valid reasons, are they mouth pieces for a more powerful member of the elite, or are they in “the king wore no clothes category” with only imagined power? Please explain.
Comment by BJ Camp---Pittsburg, Pa on 07.24.2012
Gilmer County has a good mix of individuals:
Those with power-
Those who think they have power-
Those who want power-
Those self appointed oracles who know the best for everyone-
Those who think they have superior knowledge in all matters-
GFP has preformed, and still is, a great service to the community, as well as those who have ties here.
Worldwide social media is - - removing the emperors’ clothing - - so people are able to view government and wrongs, without the bias of the t-v and print media.
Then there are those who do actually volunteer and have our community good at heart. They are appreciated more than most of them realize. They do not try to manipulate our community for their personal gain.
Comment by anonymous on 07.25.2012
No one has ever said how big of an area the 911 center needs to operate. Using an existing building and good, used equipment makes a lot of sense, rather than spending all the start up money on a building. If money were to be borrowed on a “no penalty for paying it off” basis, then the whole operation could be up and running much sooner without ever using the entire $750,000.
Comment by Karen Pennebaker on 07.26.2012
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