Cailey Moore
Staff Writer

The Pocahontas County Commission listened to and acted on a number of considerations, requests and other items brought before them during its first meeting of the new year.

One item brought to the commission’s attention was a letter from Inter-state Hardwoods Company.

In the letter, Mill Manager Donnie Nottingham explained that the company had been leasing county-owned property at the East Fork Industrial Park, located in Frank, for a number of years. However, as the business began to grow, Inter-state Hardwoods constructed and moved into a 40,000 square foot facility 100 feet away while still maintaining their East Fork lease.

Inter-state Hardwoods’ use of the East Fork building has decreased significantly in the past 10 years – as it failed to meet the growing company’s needs – and according to Nottingham’s letter, the company wished to terminate the five-year lease agreement as of January 1, 2016 – the anniversary date per the agreement.

Commissioner David McLaughlin, who originally received the letter from Nottingham, updated the commission on the East Fork building in question.

He confirmed that aspects of the building were deteriorating and reminded the commission that, with the building’s low roof, Inter-state had to lower the floor in order to accommodate its equipment.

“Inter-state Hardwoods expressed interest in entering into a long-term lease or a lease-to-own option should the building be updated or rebuilt,” McLaughlin said, “but in light of the recent tax issue, can we actually lease that property to a private company?”

McLaughlin then asked if an arrangement was possible that would allow Inter-state Hardwoods to maintain use of the building if the company provided insurance and maintained its upkeep, rather than charging a lease.

“You can’t make money off of it,” commission attorney Bob Martin answered. “If we make money off of the building, then it destroys the tax exempt status of the property – like what happened with the ARC building.”

Martin went on to add that, if the commission has someone maintaining the property in exchange for the use of the building, the commission might be able to argue that to the tax department.

The commission authorized commissioner McLaughlin to approach Inter-state Hardwoods Lumber Company with the commission’s decision and then return to the commission for further action.

In other news:

  • Commissioner Jamie Walker nominated current Commission President William Beard to serve as the 2016 Commission President, and the motion passed unanimously. Additionally, the commission reviewed the 2016 County Commission Board appointments. No changes were made.
  • The commission agreed to write a letter to for Pocahontas Memorial Hospital in support of the West Virginia Rural Health Clinic Performance Improvement Network.
  • The commission accepted Woodford Oil Company’s bid to provide gasoline to the courthouse offices at 15 cents above Marathon rack price.
  • B.J. Gudmundsson, of Preserving Pocahontas, presented the commission with an annual update and asked for additional time in the ARC building in order to continue working on the Historical Society’s Pearl Carter Ward collection. The commission approved her request. No motion was required. Additionally, Gudmundsson placed an official request to be considered for the 2016 Hotel/Motel tax.
  • Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op treasurer Charlotte Slagle presented the commission with the annual update on the co-opand requested consideration for the 2016 Hotel/Motel tax.
  • Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Cara Rose presented an update to the commission concerning tourism. At the end of each fiscal year, an educational and informational newsletter, “Tourism by the Numbers,” will be mailed to legislatures, local officials, county residents, etc.
  • Mike Cain and 911 Director Mike O’Brien presented estimates from two different companies for alarm system inspection and testing. The commission authorized Cain and O’Brien to proceed with the testing and inspection of the courthouse alarm systems via Simplex at a cost of $2,000.
  • Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese and commission attorney Bob Martin updated the commission concerning the Law Enforcement contract with Snowshoe Mountain Resort. No action was taken.

The next regular County Commission meeting is scheduled for January 19, 2016, at 5:30 p.m.