Elder abuse prevention, courthouse upgrades, Arts and Recs considered by Greenbrier County Commission

Elder abuse prevention, courthouse upgrades, Arts and Recs considered by Greenbrier County Commission

Efforts against elder abuse, bids for the Greenbrier County Courthouse expansion project, the approval of Arts and Recreation projects, an apology for the air conditioning being out for courthouse employees, and more were topics for discussion and vote at the Tuesday, June 8, meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission.

First, Gloria Martin of the Elder Abuse Awareness Committee was able to announce good news for area seniors.

“The Greenbrier County Committee On Aging Centers in Fairlea and Rupert are going to open,” Martin said. “We’re really happy about that. The seniors [have been asking] ‘when are you going to open? When are you going to open?’ As you well know, the seniors come for lunch, but they also come for socialization. Many of these folks live alone and they come to play bingo, play puzzles, do arts and crafts, gossip. We’re hoping to be open around June 20th.”

This isn’t the only gathering looking to help area seniors opening back up after COVID-19 vaccinations started. Similar to the efforts of the Child and Youth Advocacy Center, Martin encouraged everyone to take care of the seniors in their family and community.

“The Elder Abuse Awareness Committee was finally able to meet in person,” Martin said. “We are concerned about elder abuse issues and we’re really concerned about what might have happened during COVID. Folks really depended upon the people who were taking care of them and we hope there were not elders who were put in [abusive situations] during that time.

The commission also signed a proclamation naming June as Elder Abuse Awareness month, saying that all seniors are “valued members of society, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure they live safely and with dignity … and abuse of older people is a tragedy inflicted on honorable seniors and an increasing problem in today’s society that crosses all socioeconomic boundaries.”

“I’d also like to thank Kelly Banton — she put out the two beautiful wreaths that are on the courthouse doors throughout the month,” Martin said.

In other business:

– Two bids were opened for the massive Greenbrier County Courthouse expansion project. First, a $15,114,000 bid from Paramount Builders LLC was opened, followed by a $12,649,950 bid from SQP Construction Group. Both bids were from St. Albans — Rose noted the scope and length of the project likely kept some of the local companies out of the project. The contractor won’t be selected until the next commission meeting after the engineer gets a chance to review them.

– Funding to the Greenbrier County Arts and Recreation fund applicants was passed with few exceptions. Although the list of approved projects has not been publicly released in order to tell the individual applicants, the commission voted to approve $368,325.94 worth of projects out of the $406,241.92 requested in projects. Normally Arts and Recreation grant applicants go through a series of interviews, but that process was disrupted in 2020. Continued issues with COVID-19 led to the interviews not being conducted for this year either, leading the commission to approve all the projects that were eligible for funding. This includes partial funding for some projects that were not able to be completely approved.

– The commission received an annual $260,000 grant that funds the Greenbrier County Day Report Center. The commission acts as a pass-through for these funds.

– The commissioners apologized to the staff of the Greenbrier County Courthouse as the air conditioning in the building is repaired. Rose noted the system is a “work in progress.”

– A service agreement with the Department of Motor Vehicles was approved by the commission. Commissioner Tammy Shifflett-Tincher explained that in order for “the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Tax Office to begin to sell registrations again, there is an interactive service through the state that we are going to participate in. This is the agreement for us to join that.”

– A new hire was approved for the Greenbrier County 911 Center.

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