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Morgan Commissioners Proclaim Day of Prayer, Sign Resolutions, Take Care of Business
Saturday, May 5th is Community Volunteer Day in Morgan County. Local government entities and organizations selected their volunteer of the year to be honored at the Country Inn with an awards brunch. The awards are organized annually by the Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.
The Morgan County Commission selected the Morgan County Deputy Reserves for nearly 700 hours of volunteer services its men and women provide monthly. The Deputy Reserves handle traffic details for funerals, accident scenes, and county or events such as Apple Butter Festival, Morgan County Fair, and Berkeley Springs Fireman’s Carnival.
In their past two meetings, county commissioners were busy accepting grant resolutions submitted by Grant Administrator Carol York. Through the West Virginia Development Office Community participation Grant program, Deputy Reserves will apply for $2,000 to go toward new equipment; Paw Paw Fire and Rescue will request $2,000 for training and equipment.
Commissioners signed a resolution authorizing York and County Administrator Jody McClintock to plan, budget, and apply for a Litter Control grant through the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Rev. Robert Osborne presented a proclamation on May 3rd, signed by the Commission, proclaiming the day as National Day of Prayer. In 1952, the U.S. Congress established the National Day of Prayer. The law was amended in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan to designate the first Thursday of May as the official annual the National Day of Prayer.
They also signed an order to formally create a Morgan County Community Criminal Justice Board. West Virginia Code Chapter 62, Article 11C grants commissions the authority to establish a public entity known as a community criminal justice board, with the purpose of purchasing, developing and operating community-based corrections services. Prosecuting Attorney Debra McLaughlin was in favor of creating the board. The board will have no more than 15 voting members. They will be looking for citizen volunteers in the future.
McClintock reported on improvements at the animal control kennel on Route 9 at Harmison Lane, and of an updated policies and procedures for the animal control officer. Commissioners discussed the length of time to house a dog after the state-required five-day waiting period, and when to administer vaccinations. Brenda Hutchinson was in favor of more latitude being placed on new officer Jason Pearce. She did not want to make it look like a dog would be euthanized on the 31st day of housing after the five days if it was deemed an adoptable dog.
State code says county officers “may” dispose of the animal after the five days.
Brad Close said he was in favor of extending that period, but thought a time limit would prompt action. He did not want Pearce to be liable in any way. Dugan was alright with giving Pearce some discretion. They are still looking into the matter.
McClintock said she is researching purchase of vaccinations and checked on what the county is allowed to do. There is now a fenced-in area to let dogs out during the day. It has individual areas for separation of dogs. She had an estimate of $2,000 for working on plumbing/drainage improvements in the kennel area, and changing the old kitchen into a bathing area, but that did not include the tub. A sign for the front of the office has been ordered. Fifteen dog beds have been donated, and the sheriff’s office donated one catch pole. They may invest in a microchip reader.
An on-call/part-time animal control officer will be hired. And commissioners are pursuing a possible grant through Petco.
Sheriff Vince Shambaugh asked for additional funds to pay for fuel for his department. Commissioners granted $12,000, hoping it will get him through the end of the fiscal year, ending June 30th. His fuel budget in 2011 was about $70,000 due to high fuel costs. To date, he had spent about $6,000 a month.
Commissioners decided to look for a new Animal Control vehicle at a department of highways surplus sale on May 12th. They’d had good luck in the past getting such vehicles, and the current van used by the animal control officer is in need of $1,500 in maintenance. They decided to look for a four-wheel drive truck or such vehicle that could save on gas also.
The new War Memorial Hospital is operational, and the old hospital is still being emptied of equipment. The main building and other buildings on the property are owned by the county, and commissioners have been looking at finding a new tenant, or closing it pending sale. They must keep the building operational and secure. After hearing maintenance proposals by Simplex Grinnel and Kone, presented by Jody McClintock, they decided to accept both.
Simplex Grinnel bid $3,442/year to take care of fire alarms, smoke detectors, and wet sprinkler and fire pump systems in all buildings and the 911 call center. Kone elevator contractor bid $4,320/year for elevator maintenance on the main building and other medical office building.
The sheriff’s tax office and assessor’s office both have new employees coming on board. The new tax office employee will help with various office duties and streamline busy times during receiving of property tax payments. Assessor Ronnie McIntire has been cross-training employees to handle office duties as well as going out into the field. He was given a budget increase of $3,598.47 to cover new employee costs until the end of the current fiscal year.
Morgan Arts Council representative Jeanne Mozier and acting director Ann Beckley asked the commission on May 3rd for $15,000 to fund various arts council projects, including arts projects for youth. They asked for the funds from the 4% hotel-motel tax collected by the county and town. The funds are to be earmarked for certain types of activities, and the arts council qualifies and receives funds usually every year. Commissioners said they would take the request under consideration in June when they again decide on funds allocations.
The next meeting is May 17th. Meetings are held in the commission room of the county courthouse and are open to the public. Agendas and minutes are available at http://www.morgancountywv.gov.
Photo: Rev. Daniel Wright, (left), retired Methodist minister who served Francis Asbury and Wesley Chapel UMC, and Rev. Dr. Robert Osborne of Berkeley Springs Presbyterian, read the proclamation by the Morgan County Commission designating May 3 as the annual National Day of Prayer.