Representatives of gas exploration companies PetroEdge, Chesapeake, and S&A Landbrokers came before Tyler County Commission on Tuesday to make suggestions concerning access by abstractors to county records.
"We have a big problem with paying someone for the whole day and they're only getting an hour's worth of work done," commented one representative.
Suggestions made included allowing abstractors the use of the commission meeting room, extended courthouse hours during the week and on Saturdays; filling open slots in the access schedule; moving land books to a central location; and offering to buy new computers and printers at no cost to the county.
"These are just ideas that would make everybody happy," said the representative from Chesapeake. "We want to be completely respectful to the people here in the courthouse."
"This is Teresea's office," remarked Commission President Charles "Pork" Smith, referring to County Clerk Teresea Hamilton. "It's her decision and we back her one hundred percent."
"As far as moving the land books, we have had problems with the books being abused," said Hamilton." I have found pieces of the older books just lying around. We are responsible for the care of these books, and are held responsible by the State. I don't think that moving the books to another location is feasible."
"I've spoken with my workers," added Hamilton, "and they do not want to work extended hours. We all have lives. We have families. Several of my workers have small children, and we are already putting in extra time due to the increased activity in our office."
A maximum of 16 abstractors can access the records vault. The clerk's office presently allows two hours a day per worker, and workers must sign up for access to the records.
"This is not the only thing we do here," said Hamilton. "We have county business to conduct, and we have elections coming up. We must take care of the needs of Tyler County first, before we address the needs of the ones who want access for other purposes."
"We'll work with you as much as possible, and be polite," said commissioner John Stender, "but to think we're going to bend over and take it, you're out to lunch."
"We're trying everything that we can," added Hamilton.
"Just the numbers of people alone creates the problem, said Pork Smith, "and using this meeting room is impossible at this time. Early voting for the primary begins April 24."
"Once the election is over with, we'll meet with archival people about scanning record books, and if that's what's best for the county, we'll do it," said Hamilton. "This building belongs to the county. The people of Tyler County pay the taxes, and we have do what's best for our county."
Commissioners approved the hiring of Jasmine Thomas to work as election clerk, replacing Robin Reed, who resigned her position. County Clerk Teresea Hamilton commented it was a tough choice, as her office had received many excellent resumes for the position.
Hamilton also noted that poll workers are still needed for the upcoming May 8 primary election and urged anyone interested in working contact the county clerk's office as soon as possible.
Jaysha Thompson, of Community Resources, Inc., spoke to commissioners to inform members that a new office location was now open in Middlebourne. The new Community Resources branch office is located in the Family Resource Network building and is open every Thursday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
"I'm very interested in hearing what the county's needs and concerns are," said Thompson. "Please feel free to contact me in Middlebourne at the new location on Thursday. We want to help in any way we can."
A correction was made concerning the appointment of Brian Weigle to the West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board, to fill the vacancy left due to the death of Bud Weigle. Brian Weigle will fill the unexpired term until June, 2014, rather than June, 2012. Commissioners voted to approve the appointment as corrected.
Representatives from GS Tech Support, who had conducted a walk-through of courthouse offices to assess needs for overall technical support recently, presented commissioners with quotes for two contracts which would cover both technical support and software.
The commission took the contracts under consideration and will make a decision at the next commission meeting. The software would provide, among other things, a website that would allow county residents to access tax information online and to eventually pay taxes online. County Commissioner Eric Vincent noted that the contract proposals would be a $5,000 savings from the county's current contract. GS Tech Support presented a demonstration of their software technology to courthouse employees at the conclusion of Tuesday's meeting.
Commissioner Vincent noted there will be a town hall meeting Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at the Sistersville Public Library with Representative David McKinley. The public is invited to attend.
Ardie Post of the Literary Council of Tyler County asked commissioners to research information concerning grant funding from a Community Participation Grant. Post said she had applied for the grant but had not gotten any information about the grant award, although other counties had received their funding. Commissioners agreed to check into the matter.
Commissioner John Stender, who had spoken with a member of the Fair Board, relayed to commission that the board requests permission to use the field at the fairgrounds as parking for campers on Memorial weekend during the Bullring Bonanza event. Commissioners told Stender to request that proof of insurance coverage would be provided, and to further request that some type of fee be in place to partially compensate law enforcement for overtime hours.
Stender also informed commission that Dave Pancake of Sistersville had been awarded the contract for the bathroom renovations at the 4-H campgrounds. The project should be completed in early May, according to Stender.
In other matters, the clerk's fiduciary report and payment of bills were approved by commissioners.
The next meeting of Tyler County Commission will be held Thursday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.