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Commission Approves Funds for Fire Departments

By Staff | Apr 20, 2016

MIDDLEBOURNE – Representatives from local fire departments appeared before the county commission April 12 seeking financial support for needed equipment.

The commission said they needed to meet with the county attorney to see if the amount requested would require a bidding process. Commission President Eric Vincent said they had to do this the correct way and they would need more information to properly approve it.

Representatives from the fire departments said they have asked for support in the past and they weren’t sure how much longer they could keep going. They said they didn’t want to have to fold, but if something isn’t done, they might have to. According to a spokesman, they need to upgrade equipment to stay in compliance.

Vincent said the commission wants to help, but the amount requested is higher than they can approve. The fire departments said they had some options such as charging for service calls and getting a levy approved, but in the meantime they need help.

Commissioners agreed to give each county fire departments $12,000. They told the departments to order their equipment and bring their invoices to the clerks office and deputy Amy Glover would then write their checks. The fire department representatives thanked the commission for its support.

In other business, County Clerk Theresa Hamilton requested the commissioners provide a backup generator for the courthouse. She noted how storms and electricity problems may be a cause for concern if something were to happen on election day. She said a power outage would affect voting and ballot tabulation particularly on election night. Hamilton said for those reasons, she asked the commission to look into purchasing a generator. She said she didn’t know if one was needed to provide power for the entire courthouse, but at least one was needed with enough power to keep the commission offices in operation.

Vincent asked Tyler County Office of Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper if he could help with this. Cooper said the OEM has two generators. He said generators can cost around $70,000 while the one at the hospital is worth $125,000. He said the commission may want to consider a providing a connection point to attach portable generator, which could provide power in an emergency.

Hamilton said she is concerned with having a generator available – if needed – on election day in a way that wouldn’t inconvenience anyone who may also need one perhaps for health reasons.

Cooper suggested another option: Bridgeport Rental. He said with the proper planning, OEM could provide a generator.

“It’s up to you guys what you want to do, but understand I want it protected so that were not going to run into problems,” Hamilton said.

Cooper said he was confident OEM could accomplish this task one way or another. He said it would be expensive to install a new generator and there may be red tape associated with making any material changes to the historic courthouse. The courthouse was built in 1854 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cooper said with the proper electric terminal connection, it is possible to attach a generator temporarily but there needs to be a plan in place prior to any emergency.

The commission asked Hamilton to work with Cooper to adopt a plan to have a backup power source available in case of a power failure during the election period.

Speaking of Cooper, the commission was appointed him to replace John Eckels on the Wetzel-Tyler Board of Health.

In other business, the commission approved a proclamation to declare May 5 as National Day of Prayer and to hold it on the courthouse steps.

They also approved a payment of $295 to the Wetzel County Animal Shelter for services rendered. The commission’s regular meeting date, which had been scheduled for May 10, was changed to May 11.

The commission received a letter from the West Virginia Route 2 and I-68 Authority seeking financial support. The commission filed the letter for later review.

Sheriff Bob Kendle reported to the commission that potential deputy applicants had been given the agility test and seven applicants would be taking the written test. He said after the exams were scored and other factors considered, the department would decide which candidate to hire. There are two vacancies.

Kendle said some of the applicants are certified. He also said the county is in need of a couple more cruisers, so he presented the commission a few price quotes. Discussion was held on what to do with the cruisers the county would be replacing. They talked about seeing if any of the local towns could use them.

Josh Fulks, director of 911, was given permission to purchase a mower from Bridgeport Rental for $1,800 to use to mow around the towers.

The exonerations from the assessors office were approved as was the county clerks fiduciary report. Budget revisions were also approved and it was noted the state auditor’s office approved the county budget.