Braxton Citizens' News, Town Meeting

Commission hears update on broadband expansion

Melissa O’Brien with the firm Thompson & Litton was one of the first to address the County Commission at their regular meeting last Friday, April 15. O’Brien’s firm has been employed by the Roane County Economic Development Authority to provide engineering services for a project to expand broadband capabilities over 287 miles in a seven-county area which includes Braxton. The Roane based group is working with the local Commission and the Braxton County Development Authority to add just over 31 miles of fiber optic cable that could potentially serve 903 households and businesses.

Commission President Lisa Godwin explained that the Commission and BCDA had requested the engineering firm to revise their original plan to encompass more areas of the county that had poor landline phone service and little or no cellular service. “In times of needs, many are residents have no way to contact emergency services for assistance and we wanted those areas to be a top priority where possible,” explained Godwin.

Funding for the service will come from several sources. Roane EDA has applied for a Federal Grant which will build the backbone of the expansion project. The Braxton County Commission has committed $1,000,000 of their ARP allotment which will provide the 25% match for a WV Department of Economic Development grant currently being applied for. If successful, nearly $4,000,000 will go to the local expansion.

O’Brien requested that the Commission provide a letter of support for the project to be sent to the WV Development office as well as similar letter from citizens who currently have inadequate communication services.

First to speak to the Commission last Friday was Addi Facemire, director of BC Drug Testing Services who provided a report on activities of her agency for the month of March. That report indicated that the agency has conducted 73 drug screenings and that 2 individuals had successfully completed the terms of their home confinement and had been released.

Luke Malensek representing the Central WV Outreach Center, requested that the Commission consider funding assistance for his agency which provides building and household goods to area residents at discount prices. He explained that his group needed assistance in replacing the roof on their 20,000 square foot facility which is estimated to cost $50,000. He further explained that CWVOC has what they call a “No-charge Program” which assists local residents who do not have the ability to pay the agency’s discounted rates. He used a family which lost their home due to a fire as an example. He stated that last year the program cost CWVOC $43,000 for the materials they disbursed at no cost. Commission President Lisa Godwin stated that the Commission would place the request on the agenda of their next work session for discussion.

Luke Nettles, BC Animal Control Officer spoke to the Commission regarding the need to increase the adoption fees charged by the Animal Shelter. Nettles stated that the fees had not been increased for some time and in many cases did not cover the costs of care for animals before they were adoptable. He requested that the new rates be set at $149 for male dogs and $169 for females. He explained that this new rate would represent a $50 per animal increase and in most cases cover the costs incurred by the Animal Shelter. On a motion by Larry Clifton the new rates were adopted.

Nettles also discussed the need to recoat the floors in the Animal Shelter. He stated that the original coating is cracking which creates obstacles regarding sanitation and controlling disease. He stated that his best bid for the work was Appalachian Epoxy costing $13,810. Melvin Gum introduced a motion to allow Nettles to proceed with the work.

OES Director John Hoffman requested that the Commission cover the cost of five, 5-gallon pails of training foam to be utilized in a county wide training exercise at the airport. He added that the total cost including shipping will be approximately $570 to $595. The request was granted.

Sheriff Lou DellaMea requested permission to advertise to hire a part-time, temporary employee due to an extended absence of a full-time employee. Larry Clifton’s motion authorized the Sheriff to proceed with the advertisement.

Beth Adkins, representing the Town of Sutton spoke to the Commission regarding the Town’s discussion concerning the removal of parking meters in the downtown area. She stated that the plan will not work if county employees occupy the existing parking spaces on the street. She requested that the County instruct their employees not to park at the metered spaces. Commission President Godwin stated that the Commission would inform the department heads of the request.

The Commission approved the short form settlements as presented by the Fiduciary Supervisor for the following: John L. Berry, Thelma Beverage, Frances Joan Bias, Lola V. Harris, Diana B. McAllister, Sharon Elaine Miller and Jeffrey A. Steele.

Applications for correction of erroneous assessments were approved for Mary Dotson and Frame Insurance Agency, Inc.

Three purchase orders were approved via separate motions. They included: Dell for an OptiPlex 5090 SFF for the OES Office at a cost of $1,824.92; $885.99 for license for Sophos AV for Braxton 9-1-1; Two Dell OptiPlex 7090 computers for the Prosecutor’s office at a cost of $2,897.04.

It was also Gum who made the motion to purchase a Heart Defibrillator for the Health Department at a cost of $1,919 plus shipping.

The Commission approved the purchase of carpet cleaner for the courthouse at a cost of $649.99.

A discussion was held concerning John Forbush’s request to be placed on the County’s Wrecker Rotation list. John Hoffman stated that he needed to review the lease Forbush has for storage of vehicles before reporting back to the Commission. Larry Clifton stated that with the current volume of calls he didn’t feel adding another service was needed at this time. He made a motion, which passed, that the application be denied based on that need. He added that if Hoffman’s examination of the application is satisfactory that Forbush be first in line to fill any vacancies that may arise in the future.

Larry Clifton made a motion to enter into an agreement to purchase property near the courthouse at 402 Riverview Drive at a cost of $135,000.

Gary Davis was appointed to the Braxton County Solid Waste Authority on a motion by Commissioner Clifton.

The Commission set July 1 at 10:30 a.m. for a hearing on an objection to claim in the estate of Susanna Rose.

The Commission approved an internal budget revision requested by the Sheriff’s Office.

Following a review both the County and EMS bills as well as the minutes for the Commission’s April 1 meeting were approved via separate motions. Being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:13 a.m. The next regular meeting of the Braxton County Commission will convene on May 6 beginning at 9:00 a.m.