Cam Siegrist, an attorney with Charleston-based Bowles Rice Law firm, appeared before the Pocahontas County Commission Tuesday morning. Bowles Rice is representing Pocahontas Mem- orial Hospital (PMH) with regard to financing its current renovation project. Siegrist asked the commission to revise and extend the ground lease agreement between the commission and PMH, the ground lessors, with the lessee, the Pocahontas County Building Commission.
Siegrist presented a rather legalese, and, frankly rather confusing “explanation” of what this is, and why it needs to be done. Siegrist said this sixth amendment to the original 1992 ground lease will extend the lease by 40 years. He said this needed to be done for legal reasons before PMH can obtain a $6-million interim bond to finance the actual construction. He explained that the interim bond is necessary even though PMH has secured a $5.7-million low interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USDA will not loan money for the construction phase, but after the renovation is complete, the interim bond will be paid off by the USDA loan and some of the donated money. The commission approved the changes to their ground lease.
Only two commissioners were present for this meeting, Walt Helmick and Jesse Groseclose. Commissioner John Rebinski is attending Commissioner Training.
In other actions, the commission
• approved a $5,000 contribution to the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition to help battle the drug issues the county is experiencing, by providing anti-drug abuse education in schools to students as young as first grade. Helmick added that all money received by the county from the Opioid Law Suit Settlement will be used to also fight that drug problem.
• approved a $4,000 donation to the Tucker County Foundation, supporting their Run for It fundraising race. Jeff Fellows, from the Foundation, said that over the past 25 years, the commission has donated $25,500 to Run for It and, in return, the Tucker County Foundation has donated $183,000 back to non-profits in Pocahontas County.
• appointed Chad Baldwin and Lori Doolittle to the Dramas, Fairs and Festivals Board, and Ruthanna Beezley to a three-year term on the Pocahontas County Building Commission.
• approved a polling place change for Precinct 2, and adopted the Emergency Absentee Voting Policy for the November 8 General Election.
Ruthana Beezley asked the commission to give its “seal of approval” for her to pursue the biorefinery project which was discussed at the the last meeting. Helmick said no motion was necessary, since she already has their approval to do so. Beezley said that if a deal for a lease or a lease to buy is consummated, the commission will have to turn the property over to the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation to make it happen.
The commission went into executive session to discuss some personnel matters, but no action was taken as a result.
There were several other items on the agenda, which for one reason or another were postponed or tabled to a future meeting.