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Tyler County Commission Holds Regular Meeting

By Staff | Mar 20, 2019

The Tyler County Commission held its regular meeting on March 12, 9 a.m. in order to discuss matters involving the county. Before the meeting began, Commissioner Eric Vincent reported there were refreshments available afterward in order to celebrate Commissioner John Stender’s one-year anniversary of his kidney transplant. Vincent said, “We’re blessed he’s still with us.”

After this announcement, a motion was made by Commissioner Mike Smith to approve of the minutes from the Feb. 27 meeting. This motion was seconded by Stender, and it was carried.

Exonerations were then presented to the commission by Tyler County Chief Data Collector Patricia Weekley, in place of Assessor Lisa Jackson. This report was approved with a motion made by Stender and seconded by Smith.

The Fiduciary report was then given by County Clerk Neil Archer II. This report was approved with a motion made by Smith and seconded by Stender.

Following these matters, Karen Cain – an administrator and nurse with the Wetzel/Tyler Health Department – approached the commission in regards to a funding request for the 2019-2020 year. She said the department receives $12,000 a year from both Wetzel and Tyler County commissions; however, this amount only covers rent. Cain explained because she recently retired from the full-time position as a nurse in October, the department had to hire a new full-time nurse. As a result, she said the department is running low on funds for the next year and is in need of more money in order to meet the next fiscal year. Furthermore, Cain reported the state mandates the department must maintain a three-month operating revenue, although she was unable to recall the exact amount.

Cain explained the department is currently employing a full-time clerk, nurse, and sanitarian, as well as a part-time sanitarian and Cain herself.

Cain said the department was recently informed its rent amount would be increased in the near future, though an amount had not been given. She explained this causes further issues with funding. She said many county commissions buy buildings for their health departments, but understands this would be difficult for the Wetzel-Tyler Health Department, as it is between two counties.

Cain then reported there has been an increase in reportable diseases, such as STDs and Hepatitis A, that the department is required to monitor. As such, she said the department offers a program for Hepatitis A vaccines.

It was also reported that mileage was increased to 0.58 for the department, which the department is required to cover.

Cain reported when the health department approached the Wetzel County Commission about this subject, the commission provided $40,000. However, she expressed anything Tyler County could do would be appreciated.

Vincent reported a budget meeting would be held soon, and the commission would review the request and would assess how much could be given.

Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee stated if the commission was interested in acquiring a building for the health department, it would not be impossible. He said the two counties would be required to work together as a “joint undertaking.” The commission took this under advisement.

Following this, Dave Barrick requested permission from the commission to hold a county prayer on the courthouse steps on May 2, which is considered to be the National Day of Prayer. This request was approved and carried with a motion made by Stender and seconded by Smith.

Barrick also requested the commission make a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. Stender made a motion to accept this request, and Smith seconded it. The motion was carried.

In other business, Smith brought an update from the Local Emergency Planning Committee. He told his fellow commissioners Search and Rescue training has recently begun, and a mass casualty trailer is in the process of being built up. It was reported that lists had been sent to doctors and nurses and other medical professionals in order to get a list of required items to be included. Smith said Emergency Manager Tom Cooper is in the process of doing that now.

Smith also informed those present that work was being conducted on the generator at the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, on the pad and wiring. However, he reported work was behind schedule as a result of the recent storms in the area.

Also, signs were ordered to be placed at the Paden City Health Department, Sistersville General Hospital, Long Reach, and Tyler Consolidated High School. Smith explained the Tyler County Board of Education would also be receiving signs and would place one at each elementary school.

Smith reported there were many upcoming opportunities for training. One opportunity is Stop the Bleed,which will also be available to the public. Cooper expressed everyone should take the class as it could be life-saving knowledge.

Smith then gave an update on the Tyler County Library in Middlebourne. It was said the necessary steps were being taken in order acquire a new sign, and the library personnel is also researching the possibility of replacing the children’s porch. Smith reported the library was having trouble finding someone to hire in order to do a bit of landscaping – such as pulling weeds.

A letter was also read by Smith, seeking approval for Gary Rymer to be accepted for a four-year term on the Tyler County Civil Service Commission for Sheriff’s Deputies. A motion was made by Smith to accept this, and Stender seconded it. The motion was carried.

Following this, Vincent read a letter of support from the commission for Dominion that was in need of approval. It was said a similar letter from the commission has been sent in the past. The contents of said letter claim Dominion is a vital support, and it’s project holds, what was described as, substantial benefits for the county and its citizens. With a motion made by Stender and seconded by Smith, the letter was approved.

The purchase of a new ambulance for Middlebourne EMS was then discussed. In a previous meeting, Tim Stanley of said entity approached the commission about this topic. He had explained the entity’s ambulances were nearing 20-years-old and were having issues. Stanley proposed the purchase of a specific ambulance with many new and useful features. However, the commissioners felt this was a large sum of money and told Stanley they’d need time to deliberate on it.

Vincent began the discussion at the March 12 meeting by reminding his fellow commissioners the squad had received a “substantial” levy, and this money offers a fair amount of support for needed items. While Vincent expressed the squad does need a new ambulance, he doesn’t believe the commission should purchase it outside of the levy money as it would, in a sense, double tax money.

Stender agreed with this, adding the ambulance doesn’t need all the “bells and whistles.” Stender agreed the squad is in need of a new ambulance, and while the squad might desire many of the useful items presented to commissioners, those items aren’t necessarily needed.

Smith concurred with both opinions. However, he said the cot system proposed might be a good feature to possess. Smith explained having this cot system, that assists in lifting patients, might save someone’s back, as well as prevent lawsuits. He concluded Middlebourne EMS needs to look at purchasing a new ambulance through its budget, and consider other avenues before making a decision. One such avenue is that the squad could purchase an ambulance through a lease, Vincent reminded those present.

In other business, an update on the Paden City Development Authority Roof Repair /Replacement was given. It was decided in a previous commission meeting that no money would be given to this project until an official bid was given. The commission has yet to receive this bid. However, it was said Swiss Valley Associates has been hired in order to perform an inspection to determine structural integrity.

Approval was then needed for the 2016-2017 audit, and the 2017-2018 fiscal year audit. It was said the latter was a letter of engagement and a scope of what the standard audit will be. Both of these were approved after a motion was made by Stender and seconded by Smith.

Following discussion on the audit, Stender gave an update on the 4-H Camp. He said seven weeks ago, an electric company was given $6,000 to put up a pole. However, this work has yet to be done. As a result of this, drywall cannot be installed.

Stender also reported furnaces are installed, walls are up, and – in the assembly hall – the drywall was installed, paint was purchased, and railing was purchased in order to put the ceiling back in its original condition.

It was said drywall still needs to be put in many areas as well. Unfortunately, the gentleman who typically does this has come down with the flu. Stender reported many of the workers have been affected by the flu recently, and while they have been on track to complete the project by May 1, this might have put them behind.

Stender also said those installing the waterlines at the 4-H grounds are making “good time,” and expressed his belief that they are doing well.

Sheriff Brian Weigle was then asked by Stender for an update in regards to the PRO Grant for the resource officer. It was questioned if he had written the grant. Weigle told Stender he had asked the school to write one for him, as they were unsure on how to do that. However, the finished product hasn’t been received.

Furbee then began discussion on the right-of-way with Antero. He reported this was basically a road improvement agreement and a permit of non-exclusive easement on the 0.15 acres of land for which the the commissioners had signed a lease. Furbee said there were no issues with the contract except for one paragraph, which holds a confidentiality agreement in which the commission is unable to do.

Vincent proposed a motion be made to approve of the right-of-way only once the paragraph on confidentiality agreement be removed. This motion was made by Stender and seconded by Smith. The motion was carried.

Furbee then made what he called an unusual request. He requested the commission authorize funds up to $10,000 for a reward to be offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the home invasion on Oil Ridge a while back. While he was unable to give many details on this case, he did say he had multiple discussions about this subject with the Tyler County Sheriff’s Office.

A motion was made by Smith to authorize the funds for this, and it was seconded by Stender. The motion was carried.

Following this, Weigle reported the floor in the Tax Office is deteriorating and is reportedly rotting. Patricia Weekley said her office is very similar, and thought it might be the case for much of that side of the building. It was asked that the matter be looked at further. Vincent agreed to this, and suggested they look into purchasing new carpeting or flooring to bring before the commission. While this is not an expensive heavy job, it was said to be tricky and time-consuming as it’s Weigle’s desire this project be finished before the beginning of their busy season.

Mary Huff with the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department then brought an update on the merger between Sistersville Fire EMS and Sistersville General Hospital. She told the commission that the merger had been approved. However, because the county owns the ambulances, she explained there needs to be a meeting to discuss how everything will be “put into play”.

Huff said they would still like to do a one year Opt-Out option as it’s more cost effective for both parties. She then requested the parties involved meet with Furbee in order to discuss options. A special meeting with Furbee, the commission, and those making decisions on this project was then set for Thursday, March 21.

Emergency Manager Tom Cooper then reported his office had received a “turn-around grant” in the amount of $18,000 from the Department of Homeland Security. It was said this training would need to be completed by the end of April. A motion was made by Smith to approve and sign the grant, and Stender seconded it. The motion was carried. Cooper also reported a revised budget would be given at a later date.

In other business, the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council’s Luke Peters appeared before the commission with information on funds for the second phase of the Route 18 South Water Project. He reported that the completion of income surveys is progressing, about at a halfway point with responses. Peters gave a detailed breakdown of the payments given, which totaled to $507,600 in county commission contributions.

He then reminded the commissioners he would be applying for a grant in June.

After discussion with Peters on this project, Vincent brought two budget revisions to his fellow commissioners’ attention. One revision was in the amount of $12,500 from the Compression Trailer Grant; it was said funds would be moved to cover the grant. Another revision was in the amount of $18,000, and was subject to auditor’s approval. These budget revisions were approved with a motion from Stender, which was seconded by Smith.

The last article of business covered was the approval of the bills. Stender made a motion to approve of them, and Smith seconded it. The motion was carried.

With a motion made by Smith and seconded by Stender, the meeting was officially adjourned at 10 a.m.

The next regular meeting for the Tyler County Commission will be on March 26 at 9 a.m.