Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee revealed at the Tyler County Commission meeting on Tuesday that a deal was reached to purchase the Maupin property adjacent to the courthouse for the price of $30,000 through condemnation, for which the commission authorized payment. The property is to serve as site on which to build an annex for future courthouse needs.
In other matters, the commission set the 2013-2014 levy. None of the rates have changed and the commission is awaiting a letter from the State Auditor's Office approving the levy.
The commission discussed the possibility of expanding cell phone service by installing AT&T coverage to a 250-foot tower already existing at the south end of the county. Referring to the recent flash fire at the Eureka Hunter pipeline and the continuing growth of oil and gas activities, Commission President John Stender deemed cell phone service a matter of safety and security. A letter is being sent to Senator Joe Manchin's office to seek possible assistance.
"I think our first responders did a very commendable job," said Commissioner Charles "Pork" Smith, referring to the fire.
"We cannot forget that there was loss of life," added Commission Vice President Eric Vincent. "We pray for those guys and their families."
Also regarding the flash fire, Commissioner Stender asked Emergency Management Director Tom Cooper to look into procuring a water truck for the county.
It would provide additional water to fire departments in the event they run out of available water during an emergency.S
By the end of the month, Cooper will also submit a grant application for the Emergency Management Performance Grant, which reimburses the county for 50 percent of OEM expenses.
The courthouse plans to acquire a document interface and imaging system, which will allow visitors access to courthouse documents from their personal computers.
This measure is being taken to alleviate traffic on look-up stations due to increasing research of oil and gas deeds.
They are also examining the possibility of upgrading the Cat 5 Network Line, which should allow the courthouse to acquire Voice Over IP for the new phone systems. Bob Mead, a representative from Frontier, is working on a quote.
Assessor Jackson Hayes revealed that his office will be conducting their annual assessment of properties in the Union, Lincoln, and McElroy districts. For this purpose, they are using a white Jeep Liberty with county tags and Barry Harter is conducting these assessments.
Hayes also reported that State Monitor Chris Michael is checking their office for uniformity across assessments. He is driving a white Hyundai Sedan.
Commissioner Stender discussed renovations to the electrical system on the top floor of the main building at the 4-H campgrounds.
"We need to get this moving," he said, citing upcoming summer activities. An electrician was authorized to do the repairs.
David Barrack attended the meeting, representing the National Day of Prayer on May 2. The commission approved his request for a proclamation to use the courthouse steps for observation of the day.
Greg Jadwin of the Air Evac Life Team returned to further discuss the possibility of county-wide life-flight coverage, which would omit the costs for any Tyler County resident air-lifted out of the county or a surrounding county. Although the commission's request to add Ohio County and Wood County was accepted, they determined to wait until June before making a decision on the program.
In-house budget revisions were made: in the Office of Emergency Management for training expenses, fuel, and reimbursements; in Prosecuting Attorney's office for traveling and training; and in county commission for contractor services and departmental supplies. As well, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office will receive funds of restitution for a case.
In other news: three students were approved to attend the American Legion Mountaineer Boys State; the commission approved the sheriff's office to purchase a color image copier as well as the hiring of Julie Lopez as a dispatcher; and, at the request of Linda Hoover of the Tyler County Solid Waste Authority, prisoners of the St. Marys Correctional Center were mentioned as a possibility for roadside cleanup.
Previous minutes, exonerations, and the clerk's fiduciary report were approved. Bills were paid. The next commission meeting will be held on April 30 at 9 a.m. in the Tyler County Courthouse.