At its Jan. 14 meeting, the Tyler County Commission unanimously voted to keep John Stender as president and Eric Vincent as vice president; Charles "Pork" Smith maintains the title of commissioner. They will remain in these positions for another year, while also serving on the same committees.
Relating to the wiring of cables for courthouse communication systems, Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee expressed that the commission can move forward with the paperwork to join the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA), a public service agency that offers equipment at discounted prices to government agencies.
"The proposal called for the equipment purchased to come through the NJPA," said Furbee. "There was some question as to whether we were a member and whether we can be a member. The relevant code which dealt with this commission being a member had a provision that the operating agreement or membership agreement to join NJPA had to be sent to the Attorney General's Office for review."
Furbee said he sent a letter explaining the request to the Attorney General Office. He said he then faxed it again to a different individual at the office.
"I haven't received anything back," he said. "The law says that, essentially, failure of the Attorney General's Office to disapprove any such agreement submitted within 30 days of its submission shall constitute approval. At this point I'm satisfied that you can choose to execute the membership documents (to join NJPA)."
The commissioners agreed to fill out the proper documentation to apply for NJPA membership. Once the county has successfully joined the agency and obtained the necessary equipment for wiring, they plan to have Frontier Communications complete the installation process.
With this situation in mind, Furbee also suggested that the county adopt a formal purchasing policy.
The commission received a request from the Solid Waste Authority for $5,000 and a request from the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council (MOVRC) Foster Grandparent Program for $750. Both of these requests will be considered for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
"The Foster Grandparent Program is a something we always give to," said Vincent.
During his report, Sheriff Kendle mentioned an inhibiting surplus of abstractors occupying the hallway. He said that the abstractors have been assigned certain times, but many are staying in the building for a chance to access the vault room sooner. This earlier access is achieved through a "sliding line," which allows abstractors to "slide" in and use the rest of the time assigned to abstractors who have finished early.
A suggested remedy was cutting off the sliding line at a certain point.
"We're going to have to put something up about the noise level," said Stender.
"All of us have to close our doors at times to be able to do business in our offices," said Assessor Jack Hayes.
Kendle said that the abstractors crowding the halls was also a safety hazard.
The increase of abstractors has reportedly resulted from new companies coming into the area.
Other items addressed by Kendle included the possibilities of obtaining a new copier in the tax office, a budget revision to pay for Sheriff's Office overtime for the remainder of the fiscal year, and the addition of an officer for the next fiscal year.
The sheriff also voiced concerns about having a lack of manpower.
"We're losing the battle on criminals and drugs in this county, because we don't have enough time," he said, stating that drug investigations can take anywhere from days to months.
He said that adding a new officer would help a lot. Stender noted a general increase of overtime that comes with a new officer, but he said they will discuss it with Sheriff Kendle in March, when they review budget processes.
Vincent mentioned placing a resolution to the next agenda in order to name the new Pleasantview Bridge in honor of Tyler County Veteran Jesse Ault, who was killed in service. The resolution, once approved by the commission, will be sent to Delegate Roger Romine and Senator Larry Edgell.
During the meeting, they also discussed the spay and neuter program Sistersville's Olive Branch Animal Rescue and Refuge has been attempting to set up with each municipality in Tyler County, using county funds reimbursed from dog taxes.
"I think it's a good thing," said Assessor Jack Hayes. "The stumbling point she (Olive Branch President Linda Henriksen) has is the towns wanting her to spay and neuter them but not wanting her to bring them back. Once they're fixed and outdoors, their life expectancy is half that of an indoor cat."
Tyler County resident Chris Hoke said that the spayed cats should serve to fend off fertile cats trying to come into the area.
Vincent cited the Olive Branch's success with the program in Sistersville. "It's going to be a positive thing," he said.
Stender reported that much of the outdoor work at the 4H Camp has been completed.
"We are sending information to the state to get money back for the grant," he said of funding spent on repairs, noting that work will soon begin on the inside of the 4-H building.
Commission also approved terms for the Tyler County Planning Commission and Development Authority, another year of Westfield Insurance Company bonds covering the Sheriff's Office and Tax Collector's Office, budget revisions in the Sheriff's Office and Assessor's Office, the Assessor's Exonerations, the County Clerk's Fiduciary Report, and previous meeting minutes.
Executive session was entered to discuss E-911 and no action was taken upon reentering the normal meeting.
The second meeting in January will be held on Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. The second meeting in February will be held on Feb. 20 at 10 a.m.