Pocahontas County Commission
County gets two new ordinances
The Pocahontas County Commission enacted two new ordinances last Wednesday, one to promote better awareness of flood damage in flood-prone areas and the other to give property owners "an avenue" if dogs run at large or bark incessantly. Although the dog ordinance had gotten much attention from residents both for and against its enaction, no one was in the audience for the final vote.
The flood plain ordinance will require a permit for every building project that takes place in the county to determine flood risk.
The ordinance passed unanimously.
The dog ordinance does not restrict animals "engaged in legal hunting activities, lawful training activities, law enforcement activities, lawful herding or other farm-business activities." It does set forth fines and impoundment procedures and costs for dogs whose owners allow them to either roam or bark to the extent they are declared a public nuisance.
The dog ordinance passed 2-1 with commissioner Reta Griffith dissenting. Griffith has long maintained that parts of the ordinance are unenforceable.
Both ordinances took effect upon passage.
After a brief executive session, called to hire legal counsel and then discuss the Public Service District case before the West Virginia Public Service Commission later this month, commissioners voted 2-1 to hire Sam Hanna to represent them.
Griffith voted against both the secret session and hiring outside counsel.
Saffer announced prior to the executive session that he had discussed the case with Hanna.
The new roof on the courthouse annex is almost completed, but will cost more than previously expected because of earlier construction issues. WYK Associates representative James Swiger said the brick in the annex is not tied to the block in the original building.
Further, Swiger said, the elevator which will be installed in the stairwell nearest the county commission office, will be "more than just an elevator project by far."
The elevator will have no main levels from the ground, so the elevator must go up or down to get to the main floor. Swiger said the proposal removes the staircase and builds an enclosed brick ramp down into the basement. The courthouse will have more American with Disabilities Act amenities including two bathrooms in the basement. A ground level entrance on the other side of the courthouse will have ADA access, as well. The proposal also adds storage space, Swiger said.
The total project adds up to about $750,000, which takes nearly all the reserves Griffith had squirreled away in the county budget to build a courthouse annex. Those funds would have leveraged bond financing for another building that was once proposed to house the judicial functions of the courthouse.
Commissioners voted unanimously to proceed with the annex improvements.
The commission also heard from county coordinator Jay Miler, his assistant Elaine Diller and One Room University advocate Natasha McMann about the progress they've made in bringing college classes to the county.
Diller said the public will be invited to see the facility at City National Bank during an Open House November 15. The commission voted to seek a contractor to make necessary changes to the now-unoccupied upstairs space in the bank.
Commissioners did not allow County Clerk Sandy Friel to hire an extra employee in her office, but did agree to hire temporary personnel there. Circuit clerk Butch Michael's proposal to hire two people in his office passed unanimously.
The commission did not agree to donate money to North Central Community Action for its Christmas project to give a stocking to children in Pocahontas County. The commission does contribute to the Family Resource Network, which collaborates with NCCA.
Commissioner David Fleming pointed out that GPS units have been directing travelers to use roads not maintained in the wintertime. He suggested signs stating that GPS units don't always give correct directions. The commission will seek guidance from Division of Highways Superintendent Jim McCoy.