At the July 7 Pocahontas County Commission meeting, com- missioner John Rebinski took the lead in talking about passing a possible Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinance. Rebinski said that if an ordinance is passed here, Pocahontas County would join 24 other West Virginia counties who have passed such an ordinance. He said the effect of passing this ordinance would be to send a message that the county stands behind its residents’ Second Amendment rights, and would not support local enforcement of any federal or state laws that may come up which would infringe on the right of the people to possess firearms.
Commission President Walt Helmick said he is not opposed to such an ordinance, since he has always supported hunters, but would first need to see copies of the ordinances passed in other counties.
John Leyzorek commented that the U.S. Second Amendment is not about hunting, and said there are many differently worded Second Amendment Sanctuary Ordinances across the state, and even across the country. He said although these ordinances may not be identically worded, all basically prohibit the use of local resources to be used to enforce gun laws that infringe on the Second Amendment. For example, Leyzorek said, more than 100 jurisdictions – counties, cities and or towns – in the State of Virginia have passed such ordinances. The commission appeared to support considering doing this in the future.
The commission also received an update from Ruthana Beezley, Director of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC), and from George Carico, Director of the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, regarding the EPA Brown- fields Grant. The purpose of the grant is to clean up hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead paint and con- taminated groundwater at the East Fork Industrial Park in Frank.
Beezley said that although the county’s application for a grant was denied earlier, a re-application for the grant was approved this year. She said the county has been awarded $497,697 to clean-up 11 acres at the East Fork site. Carico explained that those funds will be used to remove the asbestos from one building – which the county will then demolish – and clean up the groundwater. He said the grant requires eight groundwater monitoring tests – one every three months for two years. After being cleaned-up, the site can only be used for industrial purposes. Amy Truesdale added that, under the grant, the site will be placed into the West Virginia EPA’s Voluntary Remediation Program.
Rebinski announced that he was disappointed in the Region 6 Opioid meeting in Raleigh County which he attended as the county’s representative. He described the meeting as “a bust,” since he had believed the meeting was to make decisions about the distribution of the state’s portion of the funds from the Opioid Litigation settlement, but that did not happen. He said they did appoint a Dr. Kelly from Raleigh County as the official Region 6 Representative, and the only positive was that he met Dr. Drema Hill of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, who works with the settlement legal team. Rebinski said Hill is willing to come to an evening county commission meeting to answer questions about the settlement.
In other business, the commission:
• Set up a 3-signature special revenue fund account to receive and disperse any camping funds received from campers at the Handley property by the Pocahontas County Campground Association, the group that runs the campground for the commission.
• Re-appointed Jason Bauserman to a five-year term on the Historic Landmarks Commission.
• Set-up a work session for 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, to discuss the annual savings in the county budget.
• Approved a list of eight un-progressed estates. This begins the process to administratively close them per West Virginia law, unless a response is received after being notified of this proposed action.
• Formalized the changes to the commission’s donation process to reduce the amount of money any one non-profit organization to $2,500 per year, as approved at the last meeting. They also agreed to remove the exception for private organizations to be able to receive up to $500 without being a formal non-profit corporation. At the last meeting the total annual contribution budget was reduced from $50,000 to $25,000.