Braxton Citizens' News, Town Meeting

County gets Opioid checks

County gets $356,842.91, Sutton receives $14,304.25

Charleston Attorney Rusty Webb and State Auditor J.B McCuskey were the special guests at last Friday’s Braxton County Commission meeting. Webb was on hand to present the county and Town of Sutton checks for their first installment of the Opioid Settlement monies recently awarded to the State of West Virginia.

The funding is part of a one-billion-dollar settlement from drug manufacturing companies that will be coming to the state over the next thirteen years. Counties and municipalities are just beginning to receive the first portions of those funds which will amount to over $250 million. All funds must be used to abate the opioid crisis through efforts such as evidence-based addiction treatment, recovery, and prevention programs, or supporting law enforcement efforts to curtail distribution, Attorney Webb explained to the Commission.

The attorney presented Sutton Mayor Jon Hoover with a check for $14,304.25. The check to the county was in the amount of $356,842.91. Webb stated that checks in similar amounts would be issued around November of each year for the next 13 years.

Auditor McCuskey explained the procedure that was outlined in the guidelines for spending the money as well as the transparent auditing of those funds. He answered questions pertaining to the funding and how it could be used. He added that funds could be expended from the funds to pay back Regional Jail Fees.

He further explained that other municipalities in Braxton County may be or have received checks as not all agencies were represented by the same law firm. Webb stated that the attorney fees have already been deducted from the payment. He explained that normally such fees amounted to 30 to 40% of the settlement, however, the State Auditor had insisted that the bulk of the funds be returned to the citizens of West Virginia and the attorneys’ portion was reduced to 15%.

McCuskey encouraged county and Sutton officials to explore collaborative efforts between governmental agencies and counties.

Prosecuting Attorney Dwayne Vandevender was first to speak to the Commission at their January 5 meeting. He requested permission to hire Brooklyn Sargent to work in his office. He stated she would be paid $30,000 per year with county benefits and serve a 90-day probationary period. Larry Clifton introduced action to approve the request.

Tiffany Prior, EMS Director, requested that the Commission purchase a Stryker Power Lift Cot and Chair Stretcher at a cost of $84,695.17 and that the purchase be financed through the ARP Lost Revenue funds. That request was granted.

Prior also requested permission to change the status of Joshua S. Swager from part-time to full-time paramedic/driver at a pay rate of $20.50 per hour with full county benefits. She also requested to hire Damon Quinn as a part-time paramedic/driver at a rate of $20.50 with no county benefits. Both requests were granted.

OES/9-1-1 Director John Hoffman told the commission that the activity reports for his agencies for the month of December would be presented at their next meeting.

Assessor Edie Tichner requested permission to hire Marcia E. Putnam as a part-time employee in her office. She will be paid $15 per hour with no county benefits and serve a 90 day probationary period. The request was granted.

The Probate Appointments for the month of December were approved as presented by the County Clerk on a motion by Larry Clifton.

The Commission also approved correction of erroneous assessments for Stacy Fisher and Gregory Berlo.

A single purchase order was approved. The Sheriff’s Process Server vehicle will receive maintenance from Evans Auto at a total cost of $799.96.

The Commission reviewed and approved the following: appointment of Commissioners to serve on various boards; the Commission’s meeting schedule; holidays for county employees (that schedule currently amounts to 16 days including 2 half days which traditionally have been converted to full days); timesheet and payday schedule and board of equalization schedule.

The Commission reviewed and approved a letter of resignation from Deputy Sheriff Levi Cochran. They also reviewed and accepted a retirement notice from Marsha Rexroad as the Administrative Assistant to EMS effective February 29.

The Commission authorized a budget revision as submitted by County Clerk Sue Rutherford.

A contract for Courthouse network support with Global Science and Technology, Inc. for the coming year was approved.

The Commission accepted a letter of resignation from Brenda Gregory from the Braxton County Development Authority.

Sheriff Lou DellaMae requested that the Commission allow him to hire two deputies through the Civil Service process opposed to the one that was authorized. That request was granted.

The Commission reviewed and approved the county and EMS bills for payment. A separate motion approved the minutes of the Commission’s regular meeting of December 15 and a Special Meeting of December 20 as presented by the County Clerk.

Being no further business to conduct the meeting adjourned at 9:47 a.m. The next regular meeting of the Braxton County Commission will convene on January 19 at 9:00 a.m.