It was a packed house for the County Commission meeting June 16 as members of the community gathered to listen and speak on the various agenda items.
After weeks of discussion, deliberation and gathering expert opinions, the Commission finally came to a decision regarding the removal and replacement of trees on the front lawn of the Courthouse.
During the June 2 meeting, the Commission suggested that an authority on trees be consulted before taking any further action.
Custodian Mike Cain returned this week with an opinion from tree expert and WVU Extension Agent Greg Hamons.
According to Cain, Hamons declared the two trees on either side of the courthouse walkway to be potential hazards.
“He told me that there was two of them that needed to be removed – the one right here and one on the other side [of the walkway],” Cain said. “He said they could bring somebody in from West Virginia University and get them to do it free of charge.”
One of the trees in question runs the risk of splitting and falling toward the street while the other is more of an eyesore.
Commission Attorney Bob Martin also spoke with Curtis Helton with regard to drilling the trees.
“He advised me [that] they have somebody on staff who can do that and have the equipment to drill the trees,” Martin said. “He told me he’d talk with the individual, get together with me, line that up, and they can drill the trees and let us know what the status of the trees is internally, which seems to be the big issue from where they were cut before.”
Commissioner Jamie Walker moved to remove the trees on either side of the walkway/sidewalk as soon as possible and replace them with eight-to-10 foot sugar maples.
The motion passed unanimously.
Rules for East Cass Community Park
The commission also heard from David Cain regarding the management of East Cass Community Park.
Concerned about the upkeep of the park, which has undergone a series of vandalism ranging from burning picnic tables and drunken parties to shots being fired, Cain appeared before the commission to ask if guidelines and/or regulations could be established.
According to Cain, East Cass Community Park is one of the three parks owned by the county. Presently, however, the park does not have any guidelines posted, and because of this, as Cain said he was told by the Sheriff, people can do as they please because there are no rules.
“I’ve read the rules that apply to the other two [county-owned] parks, and I think it would be great if they could apply to [East Cass Community Park] also,” said Cain.
To help with the discussion and finding a solution, the commission invited Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation Director Lauren Bennett to attend the meeting.
In the past, Parks and Recreation has helped with the maintenance of East Cass Community Park by mowing and picking up the trash.
“At different times we’ve helped with it,” Bennett said, “ [but] I feel like we own Stillwell and Widney parks, so those two are the ones we maintain. Cass Park – I’ve never been under the impression that that’s been ours to maintain.”
“I think maybe in the future, the easiest way–if we’re going to leave it open–is just when we put the bid out for the mowing include the trash pick-up,” Commissioner Walker suggested.
Commission President Bill Beard had a suggestion similar to Walker’s.
“If you could work something out for this year to keep the trash picked up and we put a sign up,” Beard said, “then maybe we can do something different when talking about mowing for next year.”
In addition to her monthly report, Tammie Alderman of the Pocahontas County Day Report Center offered assistance to East Cass Community Park in the form of monthly trips to help with various projects.
“We’re not opposed to helping out in anyway that we can,” Alderman said, “Tonight I don’t have the manpower and the resources to commit to go on a regular basis, but a day project – absolutely.”
Commissioner Walker moved to adopt the Parks and Recreation rules for any parks owned or operated by the county commission. The motion passed unanimously.
Snowshoe CEO Frank DeBarry, along with a number of home- and property-owners, appeared before the Commission to voice their oppositions and support for Snowshoe’s Resort Area District. (Separate article in next week’s edition.)
In other actions:
The Commission approved the appointment of James Boggs as the new Deputy Assessor/Mapper. Boggs was promoted from part-time to full-time, effective June 17, 2015.
The Commission reappointed Amon Tracy as a member of the Pocahontas County Public Service District Board. The six-year term expires on June 30, 2021.
A motion to create a separate budget for the Office of Emergency Services was approved unanimously by the Commission. Administrative Assistant Sue Helton and 911/Office of Emergency Services Director Mike O’Brien will work together to set up the budget.
Martin reported that he received a letter from Marlinton Fire Chief Herb Barlow concerning the commission’s rescue boat. Barlow stated that the boat was not in the Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department’s possession but was being stored at the Edray Industrial Park. Barlow expressed the department’s interest in keeping the boat. The commission instructed Martin to look into the grant specifications surrounding the purchase of the boat and see if transferring ownership to the MVFD would be possible.
Martin presented his draft for discussion and/or approval for a policy dealing with emergency towing services. Local garage owner Johnny Dean was present, as well, and spoke about the matter. Beard moved to accept the policy–which included a revision for how towing services in an emergency situation should occur and how towing scanner-jumpers should be handled. The commission unanimously approved the new policy.
The Commission designated Pendleton Community Bank, First Citizens Bank, City National Bank and Citizen National Bank as the County Depositories for 2015-2016.
The next regular County Commission meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 30, at 8:30 a.m.