Groseclose sworn in as commissioner

Laura Dean Bennett
Contributing Writer

Jesse Groseclose was sworn in as the newest Pocahontas County Commissioner at Tuesday evening’s commission meeting. His term of service will be from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2022.

Groseclose takes the seat of outgoing commissioner Jamie Walker.

Commission president Bill Beard welcomed Groseclose to the commission and thanked Walker for his service. 

“I would like to express my appreciation for the work Jamie Walker has done during his time on the commission,” Beard said. “We are going to miss his presence here as a friend and as a commissioner.”

Commissioner David McLaughlin added, “We’re going to miss Jamie’s experience.” 

In turn, Walker stated that it had been a pleasure to serve the people of Pocahontas County, and that he had enjoyed working with the other commissioners. 

Getting down to business:

Only one bid was received for the 2017 gasoline contract for courthouse offices, that being from the Woodford Oil Company. Beard opened the bid and reported the price would be $.15 per gallon above the Marathon rack price – at time of pickup. The rack price varies, but, as a point of reference, it was stated that the price on the day on which the bid was written was $1.7112 per gallon.

The commission voted to accept the bid, and expressed their intention to seek out more bids for the 2018 contract. 

McLaughlin urged the commission to shorten the copy of an ad that will appear in The Pocahontas Times advertising the position of Pocahontas County Water Resources Coordinator. The ad was condensed, but it was decided that it was imperative to add that the applicant needed to be “a resident of Pocahontas County” and that “the applicant would need to have a West Virginia business license.”

The term for the position is budgeted only for the intervening months between hiring and June 30, 2017 and will then be revisited for the next fiscal year.

Director Glenn Galloway presented the monthly report from the Day Report program.

It showed no new participants, but a total of 15 existing full-time participants – with three participants having completed the program. No participants were terminated from the program, none were referred from drug court and one participant is on home confinement. Ten program partici- pants are male and five are female, and one participant is unemployed. A total of 20 drug screens and 13 alcohol screens were administered. A total of 130 hours of community service was completed by participants in the program.

Galloway expressed that he is confident that the changes implemented in 2016 have brought the county’s day report program into alignment with our judges’ expectations. 

He also said that he was investigating more ways to assist program participants in their struggle to become drug-free, including more structured activities and an exercise program. He also said that he would reach out to other community resources for help in using educational programs to reduce incidences of domestic violence and improve parenting skills of the participants.

The commissioners approved an agreement drafted by commission attorney Bob Martin which will allow emergency management to keep a small collection of electronic transmission equipment at the B-F-D Fire Department.

Martin also presented an addendum to the original agreement, signed in 2013, to allow the One Room University (New River Community College) to use space at City National Bank. The original agreement was for a term from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014. The addendum brings forward the end-date of the agreement to reflect the fact that the One Room University is still operating out of City National Bank. The addendum states that the term of use will be June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2017.

Before a motion was made or a vote was taken, Commissioner Jamie Walker added some pertinent history about this project. 
“This was originally to be a two-year project to determine if New River Community College would find enough interest here in Pocahontas County to make this program financially viable for them,” Walker said. “But we have yet to see the first figures from the school to determine whether our investment in this program is worthwhile.”

After much discussion, the commissioners voted to approve the addendum and agreed that they would seek to get financial reports from New River before renewing a contract and sponsorship of the program at the end of June 2017.

Walker moved that the commission should agree to the addendum and authorize the president to sign it. The motion passed and President Beard signed the amended contract.

Eric Werner of the Pocahontas County Arts Council presented a comprehensive written report of the group’s 2016 activities, accomplishments and challenges. As the Arts Council is celebrating its 25th year, it held its 25th art show, held many classes at the Little Yellow House in Dunmore, the Durbin Art Center, all the county schools and at the DirtBean Gallery in Marlinton. They partnered with the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau and donated money to the schools for art supplies. 
Werner thanked the commission for its vital and continuing support of the Arts Council.

Beard said the commissioners would review the report, adding that he appreciated the work of the council.

“We want to thank you on behalf of the people of the county for all your work,” Beard said.

Receipt of documents pertaining to the Camp Bartow project and lengthy discussion of the status of the project indicated that the land sale was complete and the deed had been recorded. The commission agreed to extend a $9,000 cash matchup to assist the West Virginia Land Trust in closing its portion of the deal and will be reimbursed by the West Virginia Department of Highways as soon as the grant paperwork is finalized. 

Four dates for the 2017 Board of Review and Equalization Hearings were selected by the commission. 

In other reports, Martin and Beard attended a meeting with the two circuit judges regarding ongoing improvements to the community corrections program. 

Martin also discussed his research with regard to upcoming changes that the Boy Scouts are said to be making in Pocahontas County and throughout the state due to budget concerns, referring to an informative article on the subject that had been recently published by the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Martin sent a letter, as commission representative, to the Buckskin Council executive director voicing concern over the threatened closure of Dilley’s Mill Scout Camp. 

Martin said he had requested a meeting between the Pocahontas County commissioners and the Buckskin Council, but, to date, had not received a response.

Martin also reported that he feels progress is being made with the homeowners’ associations at Snowshoe and Silver Creek and that the residents there are much better informed about county issues and that future votes on such issues will be more reflective of our concerns.

The commission meets again Tuesday, January 3, at 8:30 a.m.

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