Commission votes to help fund water study
The Pocahontas County Commission voted to fund a study of the county's water, both surface and ground supplies, at its meeting Tuesday.
Commissioners heard from the Pocahontas County Water Resources Task Force, which made the recommendation to fund a study by Downstream Strategies, the company that developed the Elk River Watershed Study a few years ago.
Part of the task force's goal is to fund a part-time administrative position and another VISTA next year so that its work can continue.
But its ultimate goal is much more serious.
"We are blessed in Pocahontas County with some wonderful water," said task force member Josh Hardy. "Let's try to figure out a way how to best use and protect that water for not only right now, but for generations to come.
"I think that sentiment resonates throughout the county."
Hardy's statement was backed by fellow task force members Beth Little and Dennis Egan, and while commissioners were on board with the idea, their budgetary responsibilities gave them some pause before they made a decision.
Commission president Martin Saffer said that little more than $19,000 remains in the commission's contingency fund until next July. Saffer said other groups have asked and will ask for more money.
Outgoing commissioner Reta Griffith suggested seeking funds from the U. S. Forest Service's Resource Advisory Committee under Title II. That money was once allocated for projects like Pocahontas Woods, but in the past few years has been used for more environmental projects with impacts on Forest Service properties.
More than one third of the 900,000 acres of the Monongahela National Forest lies within Pocahontas County's borders.
Griffith is the chairperson of the advisory committee. She said it had funded projects in three other counties, but had not yet had a Pocahontas County request. Funding for the water resources task force may be a band-aid now, she said, but could be a future solution to a funding problem.
Water resources are on the commission's next agenda, as well.
Commissioner David Fleming was present by telephone for the water resources discussion, but did not attend the meeting in person. Saffer said Fleming had car trouble.
In other business, the commission:
ﾕappointed Dr. Ron Fleming to the Pocahontas County Emergency Medical Services Authority.
ﾕappointed Sheriff David Jonese as the primary representative and Emergency Management Director Melvin Martin as the secondary representative to the Emergency Response Plan.
ﾕapproved an $80,000 grant from the West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority.
The commission meets again in regular session December 7.