At the June 16 Pocahontas County Commission meeting, Amanda Smarr of the Region 4 Planning and Development Council asked the commission to establish a study committee to oversee the county broadband project. The county has been the recipient of a broadband study grant. They created a three-person committee made up of Commissioner Walt Helmick, Marlinton Mayor Sam Felton, and Green Bank Observatory Business Manager Mike Holstine.
Dave Christopher addressed the commission during “hear callers,” with an update to the Tourism and Hospitality Best Practices report. Christopher said the committee met again after the June 2 meeting and came to a stronger consensus and revised and updated that report. He provided a copy of the revised best practices for housekeeping and said Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Cara Rose will help distribute the information to all lodging businesses in the county.
Also, during the “hear callers” session, John Leyzorek requested that the commission consider appointing him to the county Solid Waste Commission citing, among other things, his experiences as a Mechanical Engineer and working with earth moving equipment. Leyzorek said they need to incentivize households to create less landfill waste and more recyclables because in the long run that will save money by delaying the need to create a new landfill in the future.
In other actions, the commissioners:
• authorized Sheriff Jeff Barlow to hire Adria Goodwin as a full-time Tax Deputy effective July 1.
• authorized a contract renewal with Mind Ease Solutions to provide services to the Day Report Center for fiscal year 2020-2021.
• renewed the annual contract with Global Science Technologies for them to continue to provide maintenance of the courthouse computer systems.
• approved $15,000 from the $100,000 received from the governor’s COVID-19 grant to the Pocahontas County Health Department for them to hire a part-time employee to do virus contact tracing, paperwork related to the pandemic, and other related office duties.
• debated appointing one of the two applicants to fill a four-year term on the Solid Waste Commission – Ed Riley and John Leyzorek. Helmick said that while both of these men are very qualified, he would recommend Ed Riley because Riley has been involved with The Solid Waste Commission for many years. He said Riley therefore has a better understanding of the history of the landfill. His motion to appoint Riley passed.
• made the annual designation of the local banks as County Depositories for the next fiscal year.
• scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, June 25, at 8:30 a.m. to pay year-end invoices and to officially certify the election results from the June 9 primary election.
At the end of the meeting, Helmick presented an idea for the commission’s future consideration.
He suggested the county may want to buy back a 2.9-acre piece of level property located near PMH Hospital that they had sold to Seneca Health Services years ago, and build an assisted living center on it. He said Seneca is interested is selling the land, and there is a need for a facility for seniors who don’t need to be in a nursing home, but want to enjoy a lifestyle with assistance and freedom from maintaining their own home. He said the location, being near the hospital and golf course would be perfect. He said he will present more specific details on this at the next meeting.
The Pocahontas County Commission meets the first Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. and the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Pocahontas County Courthouse.