The Pocahontas County Commission took two actions at its January 18 meeting that will support the Broadband Council’s efforts to increase high speed internet service availability in the county. First, they approved Citynet’s bid to become the official Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the areas to receive new broadband service under the already approved Appalachian Regional Commission (or ARC) Broadband Grant. They also approved the Authorized Representative Request (ARR) and the required resolution for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Reconnect Round 3 Grant application, which will be submitted shortly. The Reconnect Grant, if approved, would bring broadband service to a large portion of Pocahontas County.
The commission also approved an engineering contract with Becker-Morgan for the HVAC and Roof Project at Pocahontas Memorial Hospital.
They issued an order regarding changes to the Magisterial Precincts which involved consolidating a portion of Precincts 12, 13 and 15 in the Central District to create Precinct 22 in the Southern District. The commission also approved changes which resulted from redistricting due to the 2020 Census numbers. That change divides the county between two House Districts, with about two-thirds of the county’s population in the 46th Delegate District, and one-third in the 66th Delegate District.
Responding to a request from the the property owner, the commission approved a Mitigation/Reconstruction Grant application of a home and property in Frost that was severely damaged in the June 2021 flood. If that application is approved, the home can be rebuilt with 75 percent federal funds and 25 percent state funds with no cost or obligation to Pocahontas County.
The commissioners reviewed the 2022 Hotel Occupancy Tax allotments and left them the same as they were in 2021, except, at Commissioner John Rebinski’s suggestion, they increased the allotment to the Bricks and Mortar Fund to $30,000 instead of $20,000 as it was in 2021. They left the percentages unchanged for disbursement of the remaining tax received.
The commission discussed the issue of the removal of four storage tanks at East Fork which were purchased by Kenneth Varner but never removed from the county-owned property. Rebinski said that Varner has informed him that he has removed the only usable fiberglass tank, and doesn’t want the other two fiberglass tanks as they are filled with a solid substance. He said he still wants the steel tank but asked if he could leave it there until June. The commission agreed to tell him that they will remove the steel tank if they need to use the property, but that will most likely not do so before June.
During the Mail Items, it was revealed that Laura Young of the Family Resource Network has relinquished her request for American Rescue Plan funding under the Replacing lost public sector money due to COVID provision as she understands that her request doesn’t qualify under that provision.
In other matters, the commission:
* had a First Reading of the Second Amended Towing Ordinance
* approved the MTA to park vehicles at the ARC building.
* appointed Rebinski to the Region 1 Local Elected Officials Board of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA.)
* appointed Sgt. Joseph Cromer to the Pocahontas County E911 Advisory Board, replacing Keith Corley.
* approved for Pocahontas County Prosecuting Attorney Terri Workman-Helmick to hire Jamie Hill as a temporary replacement while an employee is on long-term disability.