Commission updated on ACP construction

Tim Walker
AMR Reporter

At Tuesday morning’s Pocahontas County Commission meeting, Commission President David McLaughlin reported that he had spoken with Denise Campbell, the Community Liaison for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).

“I talked to Denise Campbell about the pipeline,” McLaughlin said. “What she’s telling me is (the) pipeline is pretty much being put on hold until next July. They are moving equipment out, so you’ll probably hear rumors that they are quitting. But she said they are not quitting. They are waiting on court hearings and for decisions, I think, from the Supreme Court and working through some issues with the Appalachian Trail – and bumblebees and crawdads.”

McLaughlin said Campbell also told him that the ACP picked one contractor, Rockford, to maintain the right-of-way until construction resumes. There will be only two crews of seven people each working in West Virginia until then. He was told that most of the construction yards are being shut down except for possibly the one in Elkins.

Campbell also said that Bob Orndorff, the State Policy Manager for Dominion Resources, is retiring.

Deputy Clerk Tabbi Mann, of the Sheriff’s Department Tax office, gave the annual update on the Hotel Occupancy Tax collection. She said they have collected $38,000 in back taxes this year, and 218 lodging businesses are paying the taxes – including homeowners who rent out rooms through Airbnb and similar on-line services.

Pocahontas County Circuit Clerk Connie Carr asked the commission for permission to use the former Magistrate Clerk’s office on the main floor of the courthouse. She said they need the space to scan old court records.

Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Eugene Simmons voiced concerns about this use of the office since confidential juvenile records are stored there.

Simmons said, by law, those records must be kept under lock and key. However, Simmons said that if Judge Dent agrees to let the office be used for scanning, it would be okay with him. Commissioner Walt Helmick said he would meet with Carr, Simmons and Judge Dent to see if use of the office should be approved.

The commission approved the employment of Rebecca Clayton as a part-time employee in the Circuit Clerk’s office. Clayton will scan the documents, when space is made available.

The commission took no action on Grow Appalachia’s request to use one of the county-owned FEMA lots in Cass to establish a community garden. The commission said there are too many FEMA restrictions on and controversies over those lots. Helmick offered to approach the Board of Education about letting Grow Appalachia establish a community garden on the land it owns in Green Bank.

The commission rescinded its motion from the August 6 meeting which approved $1,500 to help repair the roof on the train boxcar located at the Marlinton Depot. This funding went to the non-profit Pocahontas County Artisans Co-op, however, the Co-op has since decided they cannot work with the Marlinton Railroad Depot Corporation which owns the boxcar.

In other matters, the commission

• approved $13,956 for Pocahontas Memorial Hospital to replace the broken and non-repairable outside cold storage unit that the hospital uses as a morgue. The hospital is required to have this type of unit.

• approved Thompson & Linton Company as Broadband Consultant/Engineer for the approved $75,000 Connect America Broadband Study Grant.

• appointed Barbara H. Shaw and Oreana “Rene” White to three-year terms on the Dramas, Fairs and Festivals Board.

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