Commission hopes to stop possible Dilleyﾒs Mill sale
The county commission voted Tuesday to write a letter to the Buckskin Council of Boys Scouts of America in Charleston stating their support for the camp at Dilleyﾒs Mill and promising to back up that statement with a no-strings-attached $11,000, if the council needs the money to make the camp break even.
It was a two-to-one vote, however, as commissioner Reta Griffith said a monetary donation is premature. Commissioner David Fleming said he tended to agree with her, but voted with commission president Martin Saffer who made the motion.
With only eight boy scouts in Pocahontas County, that amount breaks down to more than $1300 per scout. Scouting numbers have dropped all over the state in recent years, Purdy said.
The scout camp at Dilleyﾒs Mill was donated to the Buckskin Council in 1960. When the other councils in the state merged with the Buckskin Council in the 1990s, the statewide entity owned four properties. One has since been sold.
Buckskin Council Scout Executive Jeff Purdy told commissioners Tuesday that the council has been operating at a loss since 2002 and has used nearly all its reserve funds. Purdy said the council no longer has reserves to meet its expenses and had done a camp study.
The results of that study, he said, were played out in the media before the board had a chance to review them. A group of board members will bring information like future timber value, land value and needed improvements to the councilﾒs January meeting, he said.
ﾓWe think [Dilleyﾒs Mill] is a great facility,ﾔ Purdy said. ﾓWe know it is.ﾔ
Having said that, though, Purdy allowed that the Pocahontas County camp has its own set of issues and operates at about a $12,000 loss annually. The other camps have a ﾓstronger local support group,ﾔ he said.
While scouts are only at the camp here for about five weeks a year, the other camps are only used on weekends. Other camps are used more for community functions, Purdy said. Dilleyﾒs Mill can be used for events outside scouting, but rarely is, he continued.
Dilleyﾒs Millﾒs distance from the Charleston central office is yet another problem, he continued.
A real estate sale, while on the table, is just one of the ideas before the Buckskin Council.
ﾓWe have dramatically upgraded our fundraising efforts,ﾔ Purdy explained. ﾓItﾒs not the plan to balance the budget by selling camps.ﾔ
Purdy countered comments about funding from Pocahontas County not being used locally with some figures of his own.
The council has spent more than $600,000 at Dilleyﾒs Mill in recent years, with more than $300,000 of that on the sewage treatment plant. In addition, a new rangerﾒs house was built at Dilleyﾒs Mill, he said.
ﾓThe problem we have is that people donﾒt know that,ﾔ he said. ﾓIt does look like they spent money wisely over the last 10 years.ﾔ
In response to Safferﾒs question about just giving Dilleyﾒs Mill to the county, Purdy said he couldnﾒt predict what the council will do, but reminded the commission that the camp ﾓis an asset.ﾔ
ﾓIf you really want to save it, you should use it more,ﾔ he challenged.
Logan County has agreed to fund Camp Chief Loganﾒs deficit to the tune of $40,000, Purdy said.
Purdy has been at the Buckskin Council since 2008.
Tom Shipley appointed to PSD
Longtime Slaty Fork Wastewater Treatment Plant foe Tom Shipley was appointed by the commission to the Pocahontas Public Service District to fill the unexpired term of Scott Millican, who resigned.
Shipley battled the PSD and county commission alike to keep the wastewater treatment plant off his farm. He won that war in 2008 when the PSD voted to move the plant to its original location off Snowshoe Drive.
The owner of Sharpﾒs Country Store, Shipley said he had learned more than he could have imagined about wastewater treatment and that he would work hard to provide for the publicﾒs health and safety.
ﾓI appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community,ﾔ he said. The PSD should provide forﾠ for the communityﾒs infrastructure needs by listening to the people.
Shipleyﾒs competition for the seat included former Durbin mayor Mike Vance and Dunmore resident Tom Crouch.
Vance said he had a hands-on knowledge of the way a sewage system should work, as well as communication efforts.
Crouch offered his experience on other boards, as well as his ability to listen to the public, then work in its best interest. Crouch also said the countyﾒs population decline might be defrayed by infrastructure changes.
ﾓWe need to make it grow rather than decline,ﾔ Crouch said.
Saffer moved for Shipleyﾒs appointment immediately, and on a two-to-one vote, the former PSD critic became a PSD member.
Griffith voted against Shipleyﾒs appointment, saying his perceived bias could hurt the PSD efforts for state funding. Fleming said that sewage infrastructure at Snowshoe/Slaty Fork is still the PSDﾒs biggest issue.
PSD member Amon Tracy told commissioners, the soonest ground can be broken for the new plant is January 1, 2011. Tracy said the delay is costing the PSD around $1 million a year.
In other business, the commission:
ﾕapproved a capital outlay request for Sheriff David Jonese.
ﾕvoted against opening early voting satellite offices in the county.
ﾕawarded the gasoline bid to Woodford Oil.
ﾕheard an update from Travis Carter, of North Central Community Corrections, about changes in the board structure since three counties have dropped out of his program, and auctioning the community corrections van. The auction will be held January 5 at the commissionﾒs next meeting.
ﾕapproved grant applications for the water resources task force, for a relay tower in Hillsboro for Allegheny Mountain Radio and for Pocahontas Woods.
ﾕassigned dates for the board of equalization and review.
ﾕapproved mammogram and cervical cancer testing recommendations for yearly exams.
ﾕheard an update on East Fork Industrial Park.
ﾕapproved a Town of Marlinton request for $5,000 to finish the storm sewer project.
ﾕapproved a grant contract and resolution for the Marlinton Depot.
The commission will meet again in regular session January 5 at 8:30 a.m.