Gilmer County Commission Meeting Report – 07.10.12
The Gilmer County Commission met on Tuesday, July 10, 2012 for its regular monthly meeting.
Commissioners Brian Kennedy, President; Darrell Ramsey; Chester Sholes, as well as the County Clerk, Jean Butcher; and County Administrator, Tim Farmer were present.
Martin Hess from Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department commented to the commission about the Emergency procedures they went through after the June 29, 2012 storm, Derecho.
Suzie Kirkpatrick, the Gilmer County OES Director, apologized for being on vacation in North Carolina for her daughter’s wedding. She got back to the area on Sunday.
She reported they still had water and ice for distribution to those in need. She said the Red Cross had been cooking meals at Gilmer County Recreation Center for 8 different counties, and thanked them for the great work.
She talked about the food lost in schools and the people currently not eligible for food reimbursement from FEMA until they arrive and assess the situation.
Kirkpatrick said the Homeland Security Office in Charleston thought Gilmer County did a good job after the storm.
She indicated one of the problems during the emergency was assignment of the chain of command which needs addressed.
According to Suzie, Gilmer County obtained and distributed 15,000 meals (MREs) from FEMA.
“The people of the county are to be commended for their cooperation and willingness to help each other when it came to water and ice distribution”, Kirkpatrick said.
• Clark Ramsey – FEMA Land:
He spoke and proposed about setting up some portable housing in the Rosedale area to get the kids involved in other activities other than just cell phones:
Request to Utilize FEMA Land in Rosedale, WV
This proposal is made by the Rosedale Mission and Community Center in Rosedale, WV. Rosedale Community Center is a non-profit 501-C3 organization registered in West Virginia. Clark and Dani Ramsey are the Founders/Directors, and they have served here for over 12 years. During the last 12 years we have hosted nearly 60 weeks of mission trips to our community where churches, youth groups, individuals, and businesses come together to help with the various needs of our impoverished area.
This year we have partnered with Next Step Ministries based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Next Step is a national/international organization that coordinates mission trips for high school/ college age students in various parts of the world. In 2012, they will bring approximately 800 students primarily to work on construction type projects throughout this region. The “site” as they call it is managed by a team of 8-9 people with various skills including: construction, music, cooking and a gift to help build relationships. The goal of Next Step is to get our youth connected to something bigger than them.
After a year of communication with the Ramsey’s and four weeks of completed mission trips this summer, enjoying what our county has to offer, Next Step is considering a 10 year commitment to this region. One of their major concerns, however, is their housing needs. During the 2012 season, Next Step will spend in excess of $36,000 on housing alone, (their average domestic housing costs under $10,000) We feel this $36,000 coupled with their already generous project materials budget (over $100,000) could be better spent toward the construction materials throughout the following years. This would make a huge impact on our effectiveness in this region for individuals and families.
What we are requesting is the use of the FEMA land in Rosedale, WV. We desire to build portable bunk houses to accommodate our guests and locate them on the FEMA Land (formerly the Pat Moore property). These 12’x16’ portable bunk houses will accommodate ten people each, and will be built on 4"x6” runners (like a sled) and can be moved when needed. We are in the process of investigating options on how to secure them to the ground in case of a flood.
Next Step is willing to fund this project as it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next decade which will be redirected toward the community. They bring much to our small communities in time and resources. Next Step has a projected budget this year of $188,900. Most of this money will be spent right here in our community for food, building materials, etc. As you can see this has a significant impact not only on the homes we work on but also the businesses in our community. I want to give Next Step every reason to want to come here for many years to come. Thank you for your consideration.
Founder/Director Rosedale Mission and Community Center
Since the space requested is FEMA land, the commissioners asked Lesa Deane from Gilmer County Assessor’s Office about the FEMA regulations. She said as long as the units are like trailers that can be parked there then there should not be any problem.
It was approved by the commission to check into the matter further.
It should be noted the mission needs about four 50’x100’ lots amounting to about ½ acres.
• Angel Ball – Human Resources
Issue brought up about the discrepancies between their set of records and the commission’s. Commission decided what is in Commission’s books is the record.
• John Utter – Lignetics:
The WVDEP has required Lignetics to collect the water running off their saw dust and dispose of it properly. Lignetics has been doing that according to their permit. However, hauling the water to Clarksburg for use in their water treatment plant has been costly for them.
John Utter from Lignetics explained they have taken steps to cover the saw dust and the water is from the rain and run off from the hillside. He thinks although the water has a little color to it, and has a little acid; it is safe to discard in to the river. He said the head of DEP has said it is OK, but in order for them to do so they have to get a new permit which required Commissions approval.
Commissioner Ramsey had shown concern about the amount of salt in that water and whether it can cause problems at the water treatment plant in Glenville. John Utter said, there is not any salt in the water as Lignetics does not use any salt in their plant. Actually, Utter thinks the water should help with the treatment. Utter said they are not expecting to do this for free. They can pay for the privilege as long as they can save one half of their current cost which is roughly $25,000.
Commissioners said they want to make sure doing so does not hurt the people of Gilmer County. They said they need an outside expert advice on this before making any decisions.
Lignetics said that is fine because they have nothing to hide and all they want is to save money.
Larry Chapman from GCDA was present and noted he thought the action can work. He could not see if Lignetics was taking the water to Clarksburg for use, why could they not do the same thing locally. Chapman said the water has nothing to do with the plant and it is only runoff from the rain.
The Commission asked the issue be put on next month’s agenda. John Utter asked for the decision to be made as soon as possible.
• Exonerations and/or Consolidations:
Exonerations and/or Consolidations were approved by the commission.
• Estate Qualifications and Estate Settlements:
Estate qualifications and estate settlements were approved by the commission.
• Budget Revisions:
• Board Appointments and/or Resignations:
• Invoices for Payment:
Commission approved the invoices presented for payment.
• Approval of the minutes of the County Commission:
The minutes of the previous County Commission meeting was approved without any change.
• Courthouse Closing for One Week:
Commission President said: he was on vacation when the storm happened. The courthouse was scheduled to be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Because everyone was without power and water in addition to a shortage of fuel, the commission decided to close the courthouse on Monday and Tuesday. They then decided to close the courthouse for the entire week.
Kennedy said if anyone was upset about the closing he was sorry, but he did not regret the decision.
• Courthouse Handicap Parking Space:
The commission would like to extend the handicap parking area as well as setting a time limit for the parking. The time limit will be about 30 minutes with one long term space.
Commissioner Ramsey said the area will be built by volunteers as long as the commission provides the concrete. Already $500 is budgeted for a similar project and Commissioner Ramsey felt about 10-11 more yards of concrete is needed. Commissioner Kennedy said more information is needed about the cost before any decision can be made.
Decision about all of these will be made at the next meeting.
• Building Commission Oath:
They were to make their oath at this meeting, but the members had difficulty to attend.
The oath can be done at the Gilmer County Vision Meeting.
• Courthouse ATM Bids and Security Bids:
There was only one bid presented to the commission for each.
ATM: John Brown from Self-Suds will be providing the ATM machine at the courthouse as long as the commission provides the electric and access to Internet. The limit is $250 and the fee will be $2.75. The Commission approved the bid for one year.
Security System: Comet Technologies for $34,740. Most of the project is for Courthouse Annex. The County has the fund of $37,600 for security projects. The bid was accepted.
• Board of Education/Annex – Central Air Unit:
Ron Blankenship, Superintendent had reported problems with the air conditioning unit at the board office. He had offered the commission to fix/replace the units with BOE available funds if he could not pay rent until it is paid for. He had indicated to the commission they will be moving the offices within 2-3 years once the county-wide schools are built. Commissioners said they needed to know how much the cost is before they can make any decision.
• Revoking Authority of Estate:
There is an Estate where brothers and sisters do not get along. If the authority is revoked, the County Clerk can appoint someone. If approved the County Clerk will send out letters to all parties involved. This was tabled till August meeting.
• WiFi for County Clerk Office:
It was approved by the Commission to have Wireless access at the Clerk’s office for use by those researching the documents.
• Standby Generator Project:
Commissioners reported they had spoken with the Governor and the General in charge of National Guard about purchasing standby generators for interested citizens to better prepare them for the next emergency situation. Doing so, by purchasing through a program by the government, can minimize the cost to those interested. These generators can run on natural gas or propane.
Forms will be available everywhere for those interested to sign up. The Program is not limited to Gilmer County. Anyone interested in West Virginia can participate.
Look for online registration form on the Gilmer Free Press coming up soon.
The Meeting was adjourned at 10:44 AM.