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Emergency Towing Ordinance goes back to committee

Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

Much of the June 19 Pocahontas County Commission meeting was spent discussing the fine points of the county’s recently enacted Emergency Towing Ordinance.

Fire Association member George Murphy, Frost Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Tritapoe, Shavers Fork Chief Randy Wilfong, and Johnny Dean, owner of Johnny’s Garage, were present to voice their concerns.

Fire department and emergency service officials are displeased with the provision in the ordinance that prohibits anyone other than law enforcement personnel from calling a tow truck to the scene of a wreck in an emergency situation.

Dean felt strongly that the new ordinance should stand as is.

Murphy, Tritapoe and Wilfong asked the commission to consider an amendment to the ordinance to allow fire department and emergency service personnel to, when necessary, call for towing to the scene of an emergency.

County counsel Bob Martin explained that, after much debate, the ordinance had been drafted to ensure a fair towing rotation system as required by state statute, and to minimize county liability in emergency towing situations.

After a lengthy discussion, the commission decided to ask the Towing Ordinance Committee to revisit the issue.

They also stipulated that in order to take into consideration the concerns of fire and emergency service personnel, Randy Wilfong and Steve Tritapoe should be part of the committee as it reconsiders this aspect of the Emergency Towing Ordinance.

In other matters, the commission:

• approved Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board resolution for purchase of a permanent conservation easement of property owned by Alfred and Sharon Dilley

• renewed contracts of M. Elaine Diller and Alicia Tallman for employment with the One Room University for 2018-2019

• approved the hiring of Makeia Jonese by the prosecuting attorney’s office. This is a temporary, part-time summer position.

• signed a letter of support to accompany the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s International Mountain Biking Association Ride Center application for the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center

• approved Pocahontas County 911 Center’s contract and account with BearCom for EMS mobile radios and maintenance
The commission made the following appointments:

• Jennifer Rose as an “unaffiliated farmer” board member to the Farmland Protection Board for a four-year term ending June 30, 2022

• Paul Rader to a four-year term on the board of the Pocahontas County Solid Waste Authority, ending June 30, 2022

• Delores Cutlip retroactively appointed to the Pocahontas County Health Department (as she has already been serving for one year) for a four-year term ending June 30, 2021

• Mark Smith to the Pocahontas County Public Service District Board for a six-year term ending June 30, 2024

• Ken Gaitor and Judy Fuller, to three-year terms on the Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation Board, each ending June 30, 2021

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Pocahontas County Commission will be held at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 3.

The public is invited to attend.

Laura Dean Bennett may be contacted at ldb@pocahontastimes.com

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