LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVDN) – The Greenbrier County Commission met twice in February to conduct county business. The Feb. 9 meeting had one issue on the agenda which was the Meadow River Rail Trail and final project completion plans.
Matt Ford had taken Commissioners Lowell Rose and Blaine Phillips on a tour of some of the route’s special interests. Phillips said “It is surprisingly beautiful and a brighter site. The mountains are not as close as you would expect.”
Rose commented, “The beauty of the rocks in the river is breathtaking.” Phillips also said the work on the trail is beautifully fitted into the natural landscape.
The project has made the river look very inviting, with Ford noting about the attraction, “We do have white water rafting within Greenbrier County.”
A change order from Lynch Construction for some additions to five of the base project issues was presented for $30,168.15. There are funds still available for these upgrades. There will be some riprap replaced with basketball-size stones, some treefall clearing and trail finishing between the bridge at Russellville and the Nallen post office.
At the Feb. 28 meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission there were 10 estates settled with Phillips recusing himself, as will be the routine during his tenure, due to a conflict of interest regarding his former occupation.
Engineering firm Thompson and Litton presented a draw request for $3,000 on the Greenbrier County broadband area tower project in Quinwood. According to Commissioner Tammy Tincher, “This is line of sight, then onto AEP powerlines, to take the broadband to Sam Black.”
The request was paid.
The commission considered the new service agreement to maintain the aging equipment for the 911 emergency service. Jordan Clendenin addressed the commission and stated that Frontier had backed out a year ago, and this new contract is essential to 911 security. The yearlong contract for VESTA 911 Analytics will be $43,196.76 and be billed on a monthly basis. The Commission approved this contract.
A grant agreement for DUI enforcement was presented by Sheriff Bruce Sloan. The $5,000 grant from the West Virginia Commission on Drunk Driving prevention funds off-duty participation by county law enforcement to investigate vehicles suspected of being operated by drivers under the influence. He said that regular sobriety checkpoints are also funded through this same agency.
Laura Legg of the Greenbrier County Day Report program requested to submit for a grant from the West Virginia Treatment Supervision Grant program for $83,500 to pay two therapists/councilors and their supply expenses.
Legg also requested to submit an application for a Community Corrections Grant for Day Report. This application for $295,000 includes salary coverage for the rest of the employees at $250,000, $10,000 for travel and $35,000 for a third vehicle to be added to their current inventory.
Legg reported Day Report used to have four vehicles, and now only one is new enough to take lengthy trips; the second one they have now must stay “very local.”
Paula Brown of the county emergency management office requested to apply for an Emergency Management Performance Grant to cover wages for their office of $137,461. This is 50% of the needed funds for this, and all that this grant will accommodate.
All four proposals for grant applications were approved by the Commission.
Two positions were filled for the 911 center; the county has hired Crystal Dietz and Natalie Ellison.
The Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau has made their last payment to the county to repay the loan that followed the 2016 flood. They increased their promotion of the county to overcome the loss of tourists with the $450,000 loan, with a repayment schedule over five years. There was one year that the repayment was deferred due to the COVID-19 impact. The most recent payment of $90,000 is their final payment on the loan.
The Commission went into executive session and when they returned, they addressed the issues that were discussed, including a resolution for settlement of the opioid litigation and release of documents. The settlement participation form and election and release documents were all approved and signed. These agreements were negotiated by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and were made with The Pharmacy, Bypass Pharmacy, Rhonda’s Pharmacy, Clendenin Pharmacy, Fruth Pharmacy and Walgreens pharmacy.
Also decided following the executive session with the county attorney, the Commission voted to approve the attorney to offer a settlement in Civil Action 21-c-102, with former airport manager Stephen Snyder. The Commission did not comment on the amount of the settlement.
The third issue discussed in executive session was appointments and reappointment of fiduciary commissioners. A.L. Emch and Kaitlyn Tierney were chosen for the 2023 year, and letters of thanks for their years of service will go out to past commissioners J. Michael Anderson and Stephen Hunter.
In other business, the construction project is moving right along on the new courthouse. The concrete front steps are now poured, and Rose said he is very pleased that the exterior portions of the building have been completed.
Finally, it was announced that March 1 is the start date for applications for the 2023-24 Arts and Recreation grants with a deadline of April 14. The grant applications are online at the county website.
An earlier, special meeting held on Jan. 25 resulted in the appointment of members to the Appeal Board for Compliance and Review (to the building code). Named were Phil Reed, Sarah Woody, Steve Whitehead, Jason Brown and one more placement, unnamed at that time.
The minutes of that first meeting were not available at the second February meeting but should be in March.