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Courthouse improvements sought

By Staff | Aug 17, 2011

Tyler County Commission heard from Steve Rawlings of the West Virginia Counties Risk Pool, a member owned and operated insurance program, at their Wednesday meeting.

Rawlings informed commission the cooperative insurance entity now has 36 county commissions and 46 authorities (solid waste, public service) as members. Members paid in a total of $6.7 million to workers compensation this fiscal year, he reported.

“Starting July 1, WV Risk Pool can offer Tyler County workers compensation benefits,” Rawling informed commission. “If the commission would switch from its current insurer (Brick Street), there may be a penalty,” he warned. “WVRP may still me more cost effective and beneficial to the county,” he added. Rawlings advised commission to compare the benefits and/or drawbacks involved in changing insurers before the fiscal year is up.

The WVRP does not cover volunteer workers through its workers compensation plan. Rawlings explained to commission the company could provide accident insurance through a third party commercial insurer. The policy is a one-year renewable plan. Non-compensated workers in Tyler County are considered volunteer workers. WVRP will present commission with a policy estimate for volunteer workers in the near future.

Also under discussion at Wednesday’s meeting was plans for improvements to the Tyler County Courthouse. Tim Meeks and Dominck Cerrone of Cerrone Associates discussed projects commission is currently seeking grant funding for.

Cerrone presented plans for improving the circuit courtroom to commission, with safety additions as the top priority.

“It’s all about fire and code safety,” he explained to commission, “not personal safety,” referring to the grant funds available for commission’s use.

The grant funds do cover roofing and structural concerns, he added. Commissioners, Meeks, and Cerrone inspsected the courtroom following the meeting to review the plans and finalize project requests.

Commissioner John Stender informed the group the Department of Highways had submitted its report on the 4-H grounds bridge. Stender said the report classified the bridge as in “fair” condition, although no structural issues were cited. The bridge has a 9 ton limit posting, he said.

“We do need to start seeking some funding for improvements,” Stender noted. “Such work as painting and paving needs to be done.”

“Structurally, it’s sound,” said commission President Charles “Pork” Smith.

Another topic of discussion was the Day Report Program offered by the West Virginia Dept. of Corrections. It is up to each county whether to participate in the program. The program was created to enable local communities to develop and establish community based correction programs to provide the judicial system with sentencing alternatives for those offenders who may require less than institutional custody. Currently, 43 of 55 counties in the state are utilizing the program. The program is partly funded (10-30 per cent cash match) by the State of West Virginia. Commission placed the day report program on its next agenda, requesting Sheriff Earl P. “Bob” Kendle, Jr., look into the matter. Kendle will address commission with his findings.

Commissioner Smith noted during the meeting that recent charitable events in the county had raised over $30,000 in the past three weeks. “This says a lot about the generosity of Tyler County,” said Smith. “That is the equivalent of each citizen in the county donating three dollars.”

In other matters, commission addressed the budget, rolling over $3,798.70 from last year’s funds into the current fiscal years. Payment was ordered for the recent purchase of the generators purchased for the Office of Emergency Management. The purchase was 100 percent funded through the Dept. of Homeland Security and approved at last commission meeting.

Commission noted the signing of a joint resolution on behalf of Tyler County Development Authority for the purpose of seeking funds through the WV Development Office. The funding is to be used for the purpose of constructing an industrial access road for a new industrial facility within the Bens Run Industrial Park. The resolution authorizes Tyler Co. Development Authority to serve as a subdivision of the commission for the purpose of applying for and securing grant funding.

In other matters, Tyler County Superintendent of Schools Robin Daquilante and Financial Manager/Treasurer Jeff Davis spoke to commission in executive session.

The clerk’s report, exonerations, and payments of bills were approved by commission.

Those attending Wednesday’s meeting included County Commissioner Eric Vincent, Charles “Pork” Smith, John Stender, OEM Director Tom Cooper, Eric Peters (Industrial Access Road), Tim Meeks, Dominck Cerrone, Prosecuting Attorney D. Luke Furbee, Sheriff Bob Kendle, Robin Daquilante, Jeff Davis, and others.