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VFD issue to be on ballot

By Staff | Aug 29, 2012

Tyler County voters will see a volunteer fire department levy on an upcoming ballot, as the Tyler County Commission Tuesday voted to make the need for more funding a ballot issue.

During a meeting of the commission, Commissioner Eric Vincent said the first step in determining how to go about putting such a levy on the ballot was declaring the intention to do so.

“We found we know less about a levy than we thought we did,” he said.

If passed, the levy would take taxpayer money and spread it throughout the county’s volunteer fire departments to assist in operating costs. Vincent said the commission will next consider when the issue will be voted on by county residents, with the November general election or a December special election as options.

In other business, the commission authorized Tim Meeks of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council to pursue a $76,000 grant for courthouse improvements. The county would be required to match $19,000 if the grant is awarded. The commission asked that the application be signed by as many public officials in the county as possible to increase the chances of being awarded the grant.

The commission also asked Meek about problems at the county’s boat dock, where Commissioner Charles “Pork” Smith said there is not enough room for turning around nor enough spaces to accommodate a heavy influx of boaters.

Smith and the commission asked Meeks to look into making the spots 40 feet long, with enough room for pull-through access. Additionally, they asked that the number of spots be doubled from five to 10. Meeks said based on old projections, the project could cost upwards of $200,000, though Smith said he would have no issue approaching industry leaders in the county to help assist in paying.

“It would benefit them as well, especially with sheriff response time,” he said.

Also Tuesday, Tyler County Office of Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper said he has data that indicates more space would improve response time dramatically. That data will be included in any application, commissioners said.

Cooper also asked the commission to approve a $5,000 expenditure to fund a Homeland Security fundamentals and search and rescue class. He said the cost will accommodate 20 students to participate in the 48 hour course, which could take place at various locations throughout the county.

Commission John Stender asked the commission to approve a $5,000 payment to the Solid Waste Authority, a budgeted amount used to hold cleanup days in April and October.

Additionally, he brought up several issues at the county’s 4-H extension building, including a termite problem. He asked County Clerk Teresea Hamilton to look into adding the building to the county’s extermination contract, pending price increases.

Stender also informed the commission about the demolition of a building next to the Tyler County Magistrate and Prosecutor’s Office and the damage left behind. He said the sides of the building need new paint, as well as disposal of a large amount of poison ivy.

Stender said he purchased the paint for the project, and found an individual who would conduct the work for $1,000. The commission voted to allow this pending the individual has liability insurance.

The commission also voted to pay $2,954.62 to Olive Branch Animal Rescue, which covers daily necessities and shots for the animals living there.

In other business, Hamilton told the commission she was in the process of obtaining a cost for converting the county’s land deed books to digital copies. She said a company will be on hand Thursday after hours to estimate the amount of time and cost that will be needed for the project.

The commissioners voiced concern over the cost, which could exceed $100,000, and asked Meeks to look into grant funding for the project.

“The upkeep of the books is important, even after they are digitized,” Hamilton said.

The next meeting of the Tyler County Commission is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 11. The commission voted to change the meeting of the second September meeting to 9 a.m. on Sept. 20.