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Tyler Commissioners Discuss County Home

By Staff | Aug 31, 2016

MIDDLEBOURNE – Tyler County Commissioners recently discussed the status of the county home.

The historic building is currently under the ownership of the county government and leased to the Tyler County Fair Association. According to the commission, the fair association is not allowed to sublet the house, so any decisions regarding the home will not be easy.

During the Aug. 24 meeting, commissioners discussed their options regarding the property’s future.

One option may be the sale of the home, however, there would have to be an agreement with the fair association due to the fact that much of the fair electricity comes from the basement of the county home.

Several organizations with ties to the building may be willing to purchase the home, but the fair association would prefer a group that is recognized as an official 501 3c entity. Commissioners discussed how to fix the home without investing taxpayer money or without doing harm to the Tyler County Fair.

The building has long been abandoned and needs major repairs. Vandals ripped out the County Home’s front doors by the frame on Aug. 6 – the last day of the Tyler County Fair. The steps leading to the home were demolished and the windows above the door were busted. The matter is under investigation by the Tyler County Sheriff’s Department.

The Tyler County Home Restoration Committee wants the commission to take a more active role in preserving the property.

“It’s been tough publicly fighting the battle with social media over some of the allegations directed at our elected officials,” said Eric Vincent, president of the Tyler County Commission.

Last October, commissioners approved a motion that allows preservationists more time to formulate a plan and locate funding resources.

“I just want the public to know that we’ve been at war over all of this, ” Vincent said. “If you go back to our original promise to this group, we never promised to put money into this property. All we did was give them time to work on a solution. Our concern is that we are judicially responsible for our citizens to not be putting money where it shouldn’t be going and secondly, we want to protect our county fair.”

In other business, Commissioner John Stender reported on the conditions of the buildings located on the 4-H grounds. They are taking out the flooring in the kitchen, removing the ranges, and putting down a new tile floor with hopes of also tiling the entire dining area after receiving the estimate. They are also replacing the kitchen and storage cabinets and replacing the range hood. Dave Myers is going to install the cabinets and the range hood. There will be old plumbing removed to be replaced with new lines and an ice maker reinstalled. There will be a main water line replaced between the girls dorms and the dining hall and there will be a brass fitting installed to the line to make future connections easier and more accessible. The well line in the boys cabin will also be replaced. There was also discussion of constructing a contract to hire Joe Travis as the caretaker of the 4-H grounds. Travis already mows the grass on the 4-H grounds but the commissioners would like him to check on plumbing and electrical issues that may arise while the building sits vacant.

In other affairs, Rosemary Guida, executive director of Northern Panhandle Workforce Development Board, gave an update on the Rapid Response program activity. The Individual Training Account program has been working well with most of its focus on truck driving training. The Rockefeller Center started a truck driving school after receiving a donation from Workforce in the amount of $98,000.

West Virginia Northern Community College and West Virginia Business College have computer classes available to help educate people about business skills and what it takes to survive in today’s market. Guida urges people to get involved in more STEM programs and get into more longer term technical programs. Guida said “this has become a truck driving state” because truck driving courses are fairly quick and offer an opportunity to make good money afterwards.

A chart displaying participation throughout counties showed that Tyler County was among active participants with eight kids in the yearlong youth program, two in the summer youth program, but unfortunately there were none in the ITA program. There were 15 adults that went through the training program for the year and 19 dislocated workers for a grand total of 44 people participating in the programs available at no cost. This will allow for valuable job training much closer to home in an effort to offer convenience for the community.

Guida encourages business owners to get in contact with her to join in some of the work programs and to give people an opportunity to earn a living while learning necessary work skills. Also, there are reimbursement options available for participating businesses. There will be a fall and summer program available and Guida is hoping for a spring program as well.

In other business, Sheriff Bob Kendle requested the purchase of two new county vehicles for use by the sheriffs department. The grand total for both vehicles was $66,994.

Kendle also requested enough concrete to lay a thick layer down on the floor of their boat building to help keep the critters out. He reported that there was close to $5,000 dollars worth of wiring damage due to mice chewing the wires.

The commissioners agreed to pay the revised invoice to the Tyler Star News for the publishing of primary ballots in the legal ads. Commissioner Vincent thanked the Tyler Star News for their work with the commissioners.

Also, the commission renewed its contract with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), a service that provides third party hardware maintenance coverage and protects the county digital hardware, windows programs, servers, and data recovery and other forms of protection. The service costs $6,489 for one year of protection.

And, the commission approved donations $8,000 to the Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center and $3,000 to the Sistersville Library.

Tyler County 911 Director Josh Fulks is still looking for someone to build a set of aluminum stairs outside of the 911 center. If you would like to bid on the contract or would like more information on the project you may call the dispatch office at 304-758-4275. He also reported a strong sulfur smell around the building and the commissioners recommended that someone from the city come over to look at it.

In other matters, Tyler County Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper asked commissioners to sign a Homeland Security Grant that would provide $12,000 dollars for radios. He also requested the purchase of a side-by-side and a multipurpose trailer for county use in the amount of $14,914 which is paid for with reimbursed monies and is also eligible for reimbursement.

A motion passed to write a letter of support to the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce in regards to their expansion to help serve the people of Tyler County.

There will be an EMS meeting on October 12th at 10:30 or directly after the commissioners meeting whichever occurs first.