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Commissioners Receive Report On Cellular Service

By Staff | Aug 16, 2017

Tyler County Commissioners mt last week where they were given a report by Bonnie Henthorn of the Tyler County BOE, who attended the recent cell phone service meeting in Marietta OH recently. There were 17 counties from West Virginia represented and each county had a member give a personal story of how lack of cell phone service has affected them.

Lack of reliable internet was also a major topic at the meeting. It was mentioned that satellite internet is not considered functional enough to run a business and therefore businesses suffer in the area.

There were stories told by West Virginia residents about how the lack of cell service and reliable internet have caused major problems. A disabled woman had fallen in her yard and was unable to reach anyone for help. She did not have a land line nor cell phone service. She laid in her yard for quite a while before a neighbor had noticed. Students have reported that they have to travel to the library or a friends house to use internet so they can attend online classes. Also, many residents claim that they have been out of internet up to 21 out of 30 days.

Boone County has fiber optic cable running through the town yet very few are connected to it. It was stated that one man in particular had spent approximately 12,000 dollars getting connected to the high speed cable.

Safety and business are the two main reasons for needing reliable services. The residents of Tyler county deserve to have a reliable means of calling for an ambulance or to call for help of any kind. They deserve the same rights as anyone else. Also, the Ohio Valley is struggling enough to support businesses without the failing internet adding to the complications.

It is next to impossible to run a business in the area between high flood insurance rates and poor internet service. This is forcing businesses to leave the area causing a decrease in population. A real estate agent mentioned that approximately 75 percent of people ask about cell phone connectivity before purchasing a new home.

West Virginia gets an estimated 122 million from the government for use on cellular service. Unfortunately these cell phone providers are using the money to boost their current service as opposed to expanding their service.

Much of that is due to the lack of population in the state. Some of these companies feel it is not worth their time or money to expand a service that will only add a few thousand people.

“It effects everyone in the county but directly effects the EMS and Sheriff’s Department” stated Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee. He feels that these companies need incentives to move forward, similar to what the government did when electric lines were going in.

He would like to see cell phone service be treated as a utility. He also would like to see the Development Authority get involved.

In other news there is to be an office for the probation officer to have access to in the courthouse. They will give the probation officer a tour of available options.

Commissioner Stender noted the work that is continuing at the 4-H grounds. He stated that D&J construction had given estimates on replacing the roof of the Assembly Hall. The commissioners passed a motion to hire D&J persuent to them providing their insurance information. The Fire Marshal gave his report to Stender which stated that several doors need to be flipped and panic bars added. It will cost approximately $5,062 for materials to make all doors compliant. There was a Stealey Green grant approved in the amount of 10,000 dollars to go towards the replacement of the Assembly Hall siding. There needs to be electrical work done to the main building, the girls dorm and the stove range all totaling approximately 11,000 dollars.

The commissioners passed a motion to make the campgrounds compliant with the Fire Marshal.

Sheriff Weigle reported that he needs a basic four wheel drive vehicle for the bailiff. He would prefer an off color car with a magnetic emblem. He also stated that he received 11 new computers to be installed in the county vehicles which will eventually be a state mandated requirement.

The commissioners have agreed to go into a lawsuit with Gold, Khourey and Turak. Commissioner Vincent stated, “The Tyler County Commission will take all actions deemed proper and necessary to update the public nuisance including the filing of a legal action against any responsible parties.”