At Tuesday's Tyler County Commission meeting, Commission President John Stender stated the courthouse has extended its office hours in order to help those involved in oil and gas transactions file and attain lease information. For the next 90 work days, the extended public hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. They will keep their usual hours on Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fred McDonald, executive director of the Northern Panhandle Criminal Justice Board, attended the meeting to propose a joint effort between Tyler and Wetzel counties for the purpose of starting a Daily Report Center (DRC). The center would serve as a mandatory check-in for those sentenced in drug indictment cases. One of the main arguments for starting the DRC is that it can, if used effectively, reduce the cost of regional jail bills.
The center would provide individual assessments for judges, drug testing for those sentenced and other possible services in the future.
Commission President John Stender signs for a Victims of Crime Act grant from the Division of Criminal Justice.
McDonald stated that they are currently looking for a building in Wetzel County to serve as the center, while a van may be purchased to drive citizens back and forth between Tyler and Wetzel counties. He informed the commission that he is sending in separate grant forms for both counties.
In related news, Sheriff Bob Kendle reported that drugs are involved in a large amount of what his officers deal with. He also confirmed that shifts have been worked out for 911 dispatchers, to which Stender revealed talks of consolidating Wetzel and Tyler 911 dispatchers. Kendle is also looking into the cost of eight new bulletproof vests.
Judge Robert Hicks attended the meeting to propose possible changes to the courthouse.
"We need some kind of waiting room or conference room," he said, mentioning how uncomfortable and potentially dangerous it can be for opposing members of cases to wait together in the hallway before a hearing.
He also brought to the commission's attention that he has been waiting for an office in the courthouse for some time.
Commissioner Eric Vincent noted that the the building's historical designation may limit how much remodeling they can do, but they will look into other options they already have.
Stender signed the application for a grant to the Victims of Crime Act from the Division of Criminal Justice services. Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee commented that this would be the 12th year for the grant.
"It shows that the committee that hands the grant out is impressed by the work we do," he said.
In-house budget revisions were made for the Office of Emergency Management and County Commission. Other budget revisions were made to cover two-percent increases in FICA, the courthouse's extended hours and grant reimbursements.
In other news, the commission authorized the Circuit Clerk's Office to hire a certified court reporter to be used on an "as needed basis"; Open Meeting Budget Days were approved for March 14 and 15; all exonerations read by Assessor Jackson Hayes were approved; the Clerk's Fiduciary Report, read by County Clerk Teresea Hamilton, was approved; previous minutes were approved; and bills were paid.