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Legislation puts 911 center in a shortfall

By Staff | Apr 13, 2011

New legislation passed by the West Virginia State Senate will put Tyler County 911 Emergency Center in a shortfall for the fiscal year 2013 according to Emory Yeater, chairman for the 911 advisory committee, who addressed Tyler County Commission on Monday.

The new legislation mandates that two EMDs (Emergency Medical Dispatchers) be on duty at all times, stated Yeater. This could equate to $250,000 deficit in funding for man hours alone as four additional dispatchers will have to be hired. No additional funding is expected to be forthcoming from the state, Yeater explained.

Sheriff Bob Kendle suggested speaking with a grant writer for possible help with funding for the future increase in expenditures. Another possible solution could be the consolidation of 911 dispatcher’s offices into a regional versus county agency.

Commission Vice President John Stender, who attended at statewide meeting on the subject, commented, “This measure was not well supported by a lot of counties. The bigger counties were the only ones supporting the legislation. A lot of the smaller counties are going to be hurt financially by this.”

Tyler County Assessor Jackson Hayes suggested contacting state representatives to see how the budget increase will be funded, and Yeater asked commissioners to be the contact on the matter. The commission agreed to spearhead the inquiry.

In Stender’s report to commission, he notified members he had received a letter from the Tyler County Extension Office. They are requesting funding be allocated by commission for the purchase of new water heaters at the county 4-H camp. The money provided by commission would be re-paid by the extension office when expected grant funding becomes available. The gas lines for the water heaters are in need of replacement, which would be more costly than purchasing electric water heaters for the site, Stender explained. The request was tabled until the extension office makes a formal request from commission.

Next on commission’s agenda was a request by Tyler-Wetzel Health Department for partial funding for the replacement of the roof at the old Tyler County Elementary School, which houses the department. It was explained that patching was not a viable option, and that several estimates had been obtained, with the lowest bid coming in around $35,000. The Health Department requested an allocation of $4,000 from commission. Another $4,000 request was also made to Wetzel County Commission.

“It’s part of our concern,” stated Commission President Charles “Pork” Smith. “The health department occupies the majority of the space in the building.”

County Commissioner Eric Vincent suggested waiting to see if other funding becomes available. “We can pledge $4,000 for the roofing work, pursuant to the health department receiving the balance of funding for the project,” he said. Commissioners approved the motion made by Vincent to pledge the money for the funding.

Renovation of the girls’ communal bathroom facilities at 4-H camp was discussed next. The multi-shower bath requires new stalls and shower heads, among other updates. Cost of the renovations was estimated between $10-$20,000. The matter was tabled until further details could be made available to commission.

Commission approved payment to Wetzel County Sheriff’s Department for transportation, labor and evaluation costs incurred due to a mental hygiene run done by the department. Vice President Stender made the motion to pay the sheriff’s department $461.22, which was seconded by Vincent. The motion carried.

Funding in the amount of $5,000 was allocated to Olive Branch Animal Shelter to provide for spay and neuter costs. The money is available through the kennel’s rollover fund. “Amy, please cut them a check today,” President Smith told payroll clerk Amy Glover.

After approving payment of bills, commissioners called an executive session to discuss a “land matter” and the meeting was adjourned.

Following the meeting, it was reported the commission rescinded a prior agreement to purchase the Velma Maupin property, which was the focus of the executive session. Although the property was probated in Tyler County in 1995, a dispute over ownership came to light after negotiations for the purchase had begun. Commissioners decided to terminate the process of acquisition. Money held in escrow for the purchase will be replaced into the commission’s operating funds.

Those present at Tuesday’s meeting included Eric Vincent, John Stender, Charles “Pork” Smith, County Clerk Teresa Hamilton, Amy Glover, D. Luke Furbee, Jackson Hayes, Earl P. Kendle, Jr., and Emory Yeater.