At its November 7 meeting, the Pocahontas County Commission approved a bid from Security Detection Services to purchase a Garrett walk-through metal detector, a Garrett handheld metal detector and an Auto Clear Model X-ray machine at a total cost of $24,540. The cost will be paid from the Courthouse Security Grant.
Commission President Walt Helmick explained that it has become necessary to add this security to the courthouse because the West Virginia Supreme Court has been concerned about the lack of security at the Pocahontas County Courthouse, and is requiring these additional security measures.
Helmick said that once this security is in place – in about six months – the front and rear doors to the courthouse will be closed to the public. People will be required to use the side door to the right of the main entrance where they will be subject to metal detection and have their property x-ray-scanned. These types of security measures are already required in many county courthouses in the state, including at the Greenbrier County Courthouse.
Helmick said the biggest expense to this will be hiring courthouse guards who will staff the security entrance.
In a related action, the commission voted to sign an agreement with SecuriTech, LLC to wire the doors and install electronic door locks so that courthouse employees can still access the building through the other doors, and not have to go through security every time they go to work.
The commission also approved the purchase of a 2023 Chevy Tahoe with 4-wheel drive, and a 5.3-liter engine for $55,445. Mitchell Chevrolet submitted the only bid. This vehicle will replace the high milege 911 vehicle, and will be paid for from 911 funds.
They also approved a $75,000 bid from Cass VFD, for the purchase of the 2016 Ford 350 ambulance, which the County Ambulance Authority is already using. This vehicle includes all the supplies and equipment currently on it. Commissioner John Rebinski recused himself from this vote because of his ties to Cass VFD.
To purchase a second ambulance to serve the southern part of the county, the commission accepted a bid from Penn Care to purchase a new ambulance, however new ambulances are backed up for several years. The new ambulance will be a 2026 Ford 450, gas, 4-wheel drive and will cost $237,398.
The commission also discussed the water and sewer projects at Beard Heights. They had already purchased a small piece of land on US Rt. 219 and plan to put in a new waste treatment plant there, replacing the old one which is beyond its useful life. They are considering drilling a new well on seven and a half acres they already own on the hill, and possibly adding a second water tower on it. No action was taken.
In addition, the commission
• donated $2,500 to the Pearl S. Buck Foundation to replace the dangerous electrical in the Sydenstricker Cabin, and $2,500 to the Humane Society of Pocahontas County for the Spay, Neuter and Release program for feral cats.
• approved the only bid received for courthouse heating oil. The bid was from Woodford Oil and was for Roanoke Rack Price plus 13 cents per gallon. That price as of today would be $3.22 per gallon.
• approved a payment of $6,528.24 from their C & B Grant to pay a bill for the PMH HVAC Project.
• approved the Environmental Report, a release of funds, and a notice of Intent to Bid for the old Board of Education building in Marlinton’s Demolition Project. This should happen in early spring.
• approved a notice of Intent to Bid regarding the EPA Brownsfield Clean-up Project at the East Fork Industrial Park.
• approved a resolution in support of the Circuit Court Clerk’s application for the Records Management and Preservation Grants.
• approved Budget Resolutions totaling $9,716 for reimbursements and donations.