Laura Dean Bennett
Contributing Writer

The Pocahontas County Commission took up several issues of interest to the people of Pocahontas County at its meeting Tuesday morning.

The commission voted to approve an order establishing rules, regulations and administrative procedures, collection and refund of hotel/motel occupancy taxes

Although the six percent hotel/motel tax has been levied on lodging businesses for many years, it recently came to the attention of the commission that there are some properties which are not paying the occupancy tax.

There are, apparently, rentals being arranged through Internet websites such as AirBNB and some small bed and breakfast rentals or informal rental situations which are not collecting the tax.

This order would provide for penalties and fines for non-payment of the hotel/ motel tax and would give the sheriff’s department authority to enforce compliance.

The commission also approved the application by Region 4 Planning and Development Council for a Small Cities Block Grant for a study on how to improve broadband service in Pocahontas County and throughout southern West Virginia, and signed a letter of support for the Broadband Initiative.

A committee was formed to review the Pocahontas County comprehensive towing ordinance and the emergency rotational towing ordinance.

The committee consists of: Mike Murphy, Kenneth Varner, Jason Sharp, Johnny Dean, Commissioner David McLaughlin, Sheriff Jeff Barlow or his designee and 911 Center Director Mike O’Brien.

Advising the committee and drafting any necessary documents will be county counsel Bob Martin.

In other business, the commissioners:

• appointed Zach Graham to fill the position of Full-Time GIS Mapper/Deputy Assessor starting November 28.

• recognized Tammy O’Dell of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program. O’Dell is seeking volunteers to assist in existing senior programs and to perhaps work on new programs to help our senior citizens.

• approved an addendum to an existing contract between the county and the Division of Forestry to rent space in the former shoe factory.

• appointed Bob Minghini, of Slaty Fork, to the Public Service District board.

• approved a $5,000 contribution to the Family Refuge Center

• approved a $5,000 contribution to the Child and Youth Advocacy program.

• designated the Greenbrier Economic Development Corporation as the lead economic development organization for Pocahontas County for 2017- 2018.

• approved an update of the original agreement for hay making at East Fork Industrial Park, designating Jamie Warner as the party of the second part.

The meeting was adjourned as the commissioners withdrew into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

The next county commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 21, at 5:30 p.m.