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Commission takes little to no action on agenda items

Tim Walker
AMR Reporter

The Pocahontas County Commission tabled or took no action on several agenda items at its July 16 meeting.

The commission discussed payment options for having Shinaberry’s Graphics, LLC provide 911 road signs and materials, and decided they needed more documentation from the company such as a suggested payment schedule, copy of a business license, a performance bond, and a completion date. As a result, they took no action on the matter.

They were scheduled to consider a request from the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce to use the former shoe factory building for a haunted house event around Halloween. However, they tabled any action on this since no one from the Chamber was present, and the commission had concerns as to whether there would be room in the building this year due to an increase use of the building for storage.

Likewise, they took no action on the approval of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Family Court regarding their court facilities for this fiscal year.

The commissioners tabled appointment of Board Members to the Board of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (or GVEDC.) The commission was told that these appointments were being requested because the GVEDC has revised its bylaws requiring that participating county commissions appoint their own representatives to the board.

Commissioner Walt Hel-mick said that this was supposed to be done in the past, but was not done. There was also confusion about whether Reta Griffith was seeking an appointment or not, since the GVEDC submitted her name for appointment, but they also informed the commission that Griffith has resigned from the GVEDC Board. These appointments will be addressed at the next meeting if the commission receives clarification.

At Helmick’s request, they tabled action on the appointment of Freda Jackson to a six-year term on the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees until the next commission meeting. Helmick provided no specific reason for this.

In other business, the commission:

• passed a budget revision and resolution for the General Fund’s unencumbered balance for July 2019. The purpose of this revision was to ensure that the funds on hand at the end of last fiscal year match the amount of funds available at the beginning of the current fiscal year.

• appointed Linda Simmons to a three-year term on the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation Board, the term to expire on June 30, 2022.

• appointed Jenny Friel as the Southern District Representative to a five-year term on the County Board of Health, the term to expire on June 30, 2024.

• approved advertising a public auction on the courthouse steps to have the log house, which sits on the commission’s property behind the 911 Center. The structure must be removed and the land cleaned and remediated to the satisfaction of the commission within three months of the sale. 911 Director Mike O’Brien told the Commission that people have expressed interest in purchasing the historic logs for reuse.

Additionally, the commission held a discussion with Mary Beth Barr CEO of Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH), representatives from the Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department, representatives from Pocahontas Center and 911 Driector O’Brien about the 911 Center’s decision to stop dispatching 911 calls to PMH when Pocahontas Center requests ambulance transport of patients to PMH. O’Brien said the EMS Response Rules require they dispatch any ambulance call received at the 911 Center to the nearest appropriate first responder, and that PMH is not designated as a first responder. He also said that since Pocahontas Center is located in Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department’s response area, that is where the calls must go.

Barr said that decision would cause the hospital to lose $150,000 per year in revenue.

Bob Martin offered a compromise where Pocahontas Center can directly call PMH for a non-emergency patient transport. In the event that an emergency response is needed, they must call 911 which will dispatch the Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department.

The commission asked the parties to work this out among themselves.

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