Featured, Government, News

Highlights from Tuesday’s County Commission Meeting

By Derek Tyson, The Welch News Editor

WELCH, WV – The McDowell County Commission met again on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020, with Commissioners Michael Brooks and Cody Estep attending via conference call.

The first order of action for the County Commission was approving the Levy Estimate Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 – 2021 (also found inside on Page 7).

The Commission also announced a resolution and grant application through Region One Planning & Development Council, requesting Land and Water Conservation Funds for the Berwind Lake Park Upgrade Project.

The $20,000 requested funds would be used to repair and replace dilapidated playground equipment and amenities at the park, while requiring the Commission to match the grant of $10,000.

The Commission approved the resolution and grant application process.

McDowell County Public Service District (PSD) also requested $15,485.27 for the purchase of chlorine detectors, a tapping machine and generator repairs. The Commission approved the request out of Coalbed Methane Gas Severance Tax funds.

The Commission also approved a Records Management Preservation Grant Contract totaling $5,400 for the County Clerk’s Office’s Map Books.

Records Management Preservation Grant Contract $5400 project for County Clerk’s Office Map Books 4,909 4491 match from Commission. Approved.

Chief Deputy James Muncy of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office approached the Commission to authorize the purchase of a K9 Unit vehicle.

“I applied for a couple different grants,” said Muncy. “One was through the HOPE Coalition for a K9, it was awarded. The other was through a USDA grant for a vehicle for the K9, that required a match but the EDA approved the match funding for us.”

Muncy also requested EDA funding for body cameras for Deputies at the Sheriff’s Office.

“The prosecutor’s office has reviewed those requests and we would submit those to the Commissioner’s to accept at this time,” said Prosecuting Attorney Emily Miller.

It was approved.

The Commission also received a bid for the County fuel system’s replacement, estimated costs projected at $18,738.76. It was approved.

The Commission also discussed transforming the former Berwind Kid’s Day into a county-wide drawing event.

“It used to be centered on the kids, and we can still do that in the morning, but open to the public for entertainment,” said Cecil Patterson. “A day of family fun to promote recreational activity for the entire County.”

“I’m for it, we just need to figure out finances on what we can give,” said Commissioner Brooks.

“How about 8 thousand dollars,” said Patterson.

The Commission approved the donation of 8,000 out of hotel/motel tax funds to promote recreational activities at the Berwind Lake.

At a previous meeting, the County Commission considered forming a County Building Commission, but later learned that one had been formed years ago, simply in need of renewal.

“We have to do this for the Mount View Football Field Project,” said Patterson. “The prosecutor has been helping put that together. Ms. Wimmer has been digging through some of our records and found that we have an old Building Commission that would just need to be renewed.”

“Right, it had three board members on it and we need to replace those,” said County Administrator Jennifer Wimmer.

“It’s exactly what we’re looking for after we replace the board members,” said Patterson. “But it’s not just random picks, I think there are qualifications for that board. We can have a special meeting to decide that because this needs to happen fast.”

“I make the motion that we use the pre-existing Commission and meet to review qualifications, select members,” said Brooks.

“I second that,” said Commissioner Cody Estep.

It was approved.

In closing, the Commission spoke about the trying times during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are some pretty trying times. It’s pretty unique, none of us have ever experienced what’s going on here,” said Patterson. “Through all of this, the workers in every department, I don’t know who could have done better than our officials and Commission employees for this County. They’re keeping our employees safe and hopefully we’re coming to the end of this road and opening this thing back up.”

“Keep looking up for help,” said Estep.

“We appreciate everybody working together to get through this and hopefully it won’t be much longer,” said Brooks.

The Commission encouraged residents to visit the new McDowell County-focused COVID-19 website, found at https://mcdowell-co-vid19-mcd-911.hub.arcgis.com/