Pocahontas SPCA backs away from county contract
Pocahontas SPCA secretary/treasurer Jay Miller told county commissioners Tuesday that his newly-formed organization cannot raise enough funds to operate without a larger county contribution.
Miller said failure of the commission, sheriff and PSPCA to agree on a memorandum of understanding boded ill for his volunteer group, but they are willing to withdraw it since, he said, the commissionﾒs legal advertisement did not require one. He said the PSPCA wants to amend its cost proposal to provide that the commission will match veterinary expenses dollar-for- dollar up to $10,000.
The commission paid $5,000 to the Pocahontas SPCA in early July, but because of higher than anticipated volume in veterinarian supplies and expenses, that money is practically gone.
ﾓWe plan to raise funds to help pay vet expenses, but it is unrealistic to expect Pocahontas SPCA to raise as much as $20,000,ﾔ he said. ﾓWe believe $10,000 is a more realistic target for such purposes.ﾔ
Without commission president Martin Saffer, commissioners Reta Griffith and David Fleming were reluctant to approve such an amount. Griffith said Safferﾒs position had been not to spend any more money on animal welfare.
ﾓThat remains my position,ﾔ Fleming said.
The PSPCA will continue to take care of the nearly 50 animals now housed at the Allegheny Recreational Center for the next two weeks.
Pocahontas SPCA made an appearance in June when it bid on the contract to house stray and unwanted domestic animals. The Pocahontas County Humane Society leadership decided not to bid on the contract.
Miller made it clear that without further contribution from the county, the PSPCA's role is unsustainable.
"I don't think the PSPCA can commit to continue operating for the next 10 months if it means we'd have to raise $20,000 for vet expenses," Miller said. ﾓWe donﾒt want to be a non-performing contractor.ﾔ
The issue will be on the next county commission agenda at 8:30 a.m. so that commissioners can discuss the bidding of an animal welfare operations contract for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Proposed Sharpﾒs Knob tower part of state plan
A representative of the West Virginia State Trauma and Emergency Medical System assured commissioners that a proposed communications tower at Sharpﾒs Knob would neither cost the county any money, be as tall as the maximum height or interfere with operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Joe Gonzalez said the proposal is part of a $126 million grant for 12 new tower sites that will bring broadband internet into West Virginiaﾒs mostly-rural 55 counties. Use of the tower will be free for any public safety entity, he said, and the state will continue to maintain the tower.
Although the legal advertisement that warned area residents that a tower was being proposed for Sharpﾒs Knob said the structure could be up to 400 feet high, the actual tower will be only 190 feet and will not require a flashing light. It will replace two existing towers, Gonzalez said.
Plans for the tower, which will improve EMS communications in the Snowshoe Mountain Resort area, has met with approval so far from NRAO, Gonzalez said. NRAO business manager Mike Hosltine, said NRAO only comments on proposals and approval of them is up to the Federal Communications Commission.ﾠ
Gonzalez said extreme weather conditions last winter made access to the existing tower problematic.ﾠ The new tower will have two generators and two LP gas tanks to sustain operations for at least two weeks without power, he said.
Once the tower is complete, broadband will become available to the courthouse, school system, hospital, law enforcement and NRAO, he said and public access could follow.
ﾓPrivate entities can buy it,ﾔ Gonzalez said.
In other business, commissioners:
ﾕheard from School Superintendent C. C. Lester who wants the county to fund a resource officer at Pocahontas County High School. Lester said the program had worked well in Nicholas County. Commissioners did not disagree, but did not vote to fund the officer.
ﾕapproved changing the name of Remus Kane Road to Remus Cain Road.
ﾕtook no action on a $10,000 request from the Family Refuge Center, pending more information on services provided in Pocahontas County.
ﾕapproved the county financial statement.
ﾕheard from Robert Perry about recommended changes in the countyﾒs floodplain ordinance.
The commission will meet again in regular session September 21.