Laura Dean Bennett
Staff Writer

Shenda Smith, Pocahontas County Water Task Force Coordinator, was on the Pocahontas County Commission’s agenda Tuesday regarding funding for water quality inspection training materials and lunch for the training session scheduled for May 5.
The agenda item read “Discussion and/or Action-Agreement Between, Trout Unlimited, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Pocahontas County Commission and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.”

Commission counsel Bob Martin quickly pointed out that the document was “awkward.”

Martin stated that the only matter in the document that pertained to the commission was that it would pay $1,000 toward the training. As funds have already been allocated in the budget for the Task Force, Smith was advised to contact Commission Administrative Assistant Sue Helton to let her know to whom the check should be written.

Denise Campbell, Community Liaison coordinator for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, introduced three members of the pipeline engineering and construction team – ACP Construction Manager Luke Knapp, I.E. Engineering Project Manager Jessica Jordan, and I. E. Engineering Field Engineer Mike Arnott.

I. E. Engineering is a sub-contractor of Dominion.

The ACP representatives answered questions posed by all three commissioners, Pocahontas County Floodplain Coordinator Don McNeel and Smith. 

The questions reflected concern about engineering and design details as the construction of the pipeline crosses the Greenbrier River, smaller streams and wet areas in Pocahontas County along its route.

McNeel will make routine onsite inspections of the pipeline water crossings during construction and has asked for an “As Built” report for each crossing after it is completed.

The 55-minute discussion answered all of the commissioners’ questions and seemed to resolve all pertinent issues related to the necessary floodplain permit expected to be issued by McNeel in the coming week.

Campbell invited the commissioners to inspect the ACP worksites. They will need to complete a one hour safety training before being escorted onto the construction sites.

Construction of the pipeline is planned to begin May 15.

Pocahontas County High School head football coach, Doug Burns and PCHS football booster club members Brenda Cochran and Anita Workman requested $5,000 of county funds for the purchase of 10 five-star-rated football helmets, manufactured by Riddell. The request was granted and the check will be given to the Board of Education, earmarked for use for the helmet purchase. This will bring the number of these top-of-the-line helmets, owned by the PCHS football team, to 17, with several more still needing to be acquired. 

Courthouse custodian and maintenance supervisor Roger Ober asked commissioners to consider repairing the windows in the upper story of the courthouse. They need to be re-caulked and painted. Helton also mentioned that there are several gutters in need of repair or replacement. It was agreed that Ober, Helton and Commissioner Groseclose will form a committee to get bids for that work, which is anticipated to be costly, but necessary.

In other business, the commission

• accepted the Frontier Communications bid of $580 per month for Internet service for fiscal year 2018-19 for the courthouse offices, including the sheriff’s and family court offices

• approved the fire alarm system test and inspection agreement proposed by Securi-Tech, LLC for the upcoming fiscal year

• appointed Bridget Shaw to serve on the Pocahontas County 911 Advisory Board, unexpired term ending June 30, 2019

• approved the Small Cities Block Grant application documents for a $1.5 million grant to assist the county in extending waste water service to approximately 100 customers in Frank and Bartow

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the County Commission will be at 5:30 p.m. May 15.

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