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Courthouse developments continue

By Staff | Jul 24, 2013

Tyler County Commission voted on several courthouse developments at their meeting Tuesday.

Commission President John Stender presented updates he received from the West Virginia Oil and Gas Association (WVOGA). The first update was a contract for 45 more work days of extended courthouse hours.

“All of the departments are in agreement to continue these hours,” he said.

The commission voted to accept the contract, which begins Aug. 1 and should last until late November. The hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.

The second update was a written commitment from WVOGA to contribute funding for the purpose of digitizing courthouse records. The digitization is meant to decrease traffic in the record vault while preserving the records for future generations.

“The financial status of the imaging is in effect,” Stender said. “According to Mr. (Luke) Furbee, our attorney, this gives us the basis for which to put bids out for the imaging contract.”

With financial backing confirmed, the commission voted in favor of putting imaging contracts for courthouse books out out to bid. They are expecting to have the necessary advertisement for bids published in the local paper within the next few weeks.

Commissioners reviewed and voted in favor of renewing their contract with Global Science & Technology, Inc. for network support and contact.

“This is the contract for the back office support,” said Commission Vice President Eric Vincent. “They provide us technology support, wiring, help with the phone systems, and different things.”

Mon-Valley Technologies (MVT), whose cabling bid was approved at the last regular meeting, may be starting the process of installing the new cables as early as Aug. 1.

“The other cables will stay in place until the new ones are in,” said Assessor Jackson Hayes, who has been in contact with MVT. “Then GST will come in and do the switchover to make it, hopefully, flawless.”

The process is expected to take about a month after the start date. MVT will be working after hours to complete this job.

Luke Furbee presented commissioners with a countywide ordinance which would establish misdemeanor penalties for loitering. The ordinance was drafted following the July 16 special meeting, in which citizens expressed their concerns about line standers outside of the courthouse.

“I make a motion that we table this first reading and spend a little more time looking at this,” said Commissioner Charles “Pork” Smith upon examining the ordinance. His motion was seconded and met with a unanimous vote.

Vincent cited comments he and fellow commissioners received from the public about the back pay which was recently ordered by the United States Wage and Hour Board (WHB).

“Some of the citizens were concerned about the dollar amount that we had to pay into the Wage and Labor board,” said Vincent of the demanded back pay.

That payment, which he revealed was approximately $32,000, was for overtime that officers were entitled to receive for taking care of the Sheriff’s Office police dog. While assuring that issues with the WHB have been corrected, he also stated that the corrected budget reveals the yearly cost of maintaining the canine to be somewhere between $9,000 and $10,000. He said that Lieutenant Dean Pratt was present at the last meeting to explain the role the dog serves.

Sheriff “Bob” Kendle stated that one of his office’s seven cars needs to be replaced. Because the sheriff’s office does not currently have the funds for a replacement vehicle, he asked the commission to look into other possible ways to pay for it. He said that he will return to them with prices on different vehicles. He also stated that they already have some of the items necessary for the vehicle.

The commission discussed the potential for moving the office of Family Court Judge Bob Hicks from the courthouse to the Extension Office in Middlebourne. Vincent and Hicks will look further into this possibility, which ultimately needs to be confirmed by the West Virginia Supreme Court.

They also addressed the idea presented to them to name the Pleasantview Bridge after Tyler County Veteran Jesse Ault, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. According to them, the people who addressed this possibility with them will need to contact another county organization before they can start a resolution to enact eventual legislation.

“It can be any group that represents the county in any form,” said Vincent.

Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Tom Cooper reported that he had been working with Deputy Clerk Amy Glover on spending OEM grants. According to requirements, the grants must be spent by the end of July. Cooper also said that he may start applying for refunds soon.

The commission approved minutes of the June 25 and July 9 meetings, the assessor’s exonerations, the clerk’s fiduciary report, and the paying of county bills.