George Carico, of the Southern Brownfields Center, attended the October 18 Pocahontas County Commission meeting to offer input concerning the county applying for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to remove asbestos from the buildings at the East Fork Tannery site.
It was explained that, last year, a similar grant application with the EPA failed to be approved. However, Carico said approval this year looks promising and, if approved, would not require a local financial match. He explained that the grant would pay for the removal of asbestos from the buildings, but not to demolish them. Once the cleanup is complete, the EPA will clear the site for industrial but not residential use.
The commission will then have the existing buildings demolished to make room for new industries, such as a solar farm or a bioenergy foundry, to use the site or the possible expansion of Interstate Hardwood. The commission voted to submit the application with the assistance of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation and Brownfields. The next step is a public meeting on the project. The following information is contained in a block legal ad on page 12 of this week’s edition of The Pocahontas Times:
“A summary of the project and proposed activities, and an Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives, will be made available Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 8:30 a.m. during a public Commission meeting. The meeting will take place at the Commission offices, located at 900 Tenth Avenue in Marlinton. These materials will also be available for public review through November 22, 2022 at Commission offices.”
The commissioners discussed the American Rescue Plan funds and the $1,242,833.96 LATCF funds, which Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Funds that are a general revenue enhancement program that provides additional assistance to eligible revenue sharing counties and eligible Tribal governments.
Regarding the ARP funds, they said, so far, they have only spent $11,250, and just received the LATCF funds so will still need to decide how to spend that money. The LATCF money is designated to be spent on Public Lands.
Commissioner John Rebinski said they are looking to spend the remaining ARP money on a new 911 Center/Emergency Management building, a new Courthouse Annex, and on Broadband efforts.
In a discussion regarding the Sewer Hookup Project at the East Fork Tannery, the commission is waiting to see if there are any other funds left over from other projects for this.
In other business, the commission approved
• a bid from Woodford Oil to provide number 2 heating oil for the courthouse and jail at Marathon Rack price in Roanoke plus 15 cents. This was the only bid received.
• approved the appointment of Connie Horne to the North Central Community Action Board of Directors.
• approved a two-year renewal of the lease with the West Virginia Division of Forestry to use office space at the ARC building in Marlinton at $500 per month.
• approved a resolution in support of the County Clerk’s and the Circuit Clerk’s WV County Records Management and Preservation Grant Application for the years 2023 -2024
• approved for the One Room University to do an in-house budget revision, moving funds from their Contracted Services line item to their Salary/Wages line item.
• approved five new settlement offers forwarded to them by Attorney Stephen Skinner regarding the Opioid Litigation. They provided no details about the amounts of those, but said there are more and larger ones eventually coming.