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COUNTY COMMISSION NEWS: Updates and Money Needs Made Known

The April 25 County Commission meeting commenced at 4:30 p.m. with the testing of Election Day and tabulating equipment that will be used for the May 14 Primary Election. Following the successful test, County Clerk Brian Wood announced that poll workers are still needed for election day. Wood stated that emergency training sessions will be held if necessary. One element which will make the May 14th election different will be the use of new e-poll books. The change is designed to streamline voting procedures.

The commission approved a resolution designating Mountain State Fiber as the administrative manager of Putnam’s Broadband Project. John Stump of Steptoe & Johnson told the commissioners that an administrative manger must be in place before sale of Lease Revenue Bonds can proceed. The bond sale is slated for May 9th with closing by the end of the month. The project is slated to be put out for bid at the end of 2024.

The agenda for the meeting included updates on various active and proposed public water projects throughout the county. Terry Martin asked the commission to declare that the Jim Ridge Phase II and Mud Lick project to be substantially complete. The date, April 25, 2024, officially marks the beginning of a one-year warranty period for the project.

Martin presented a change order for the Bowles Ridge Project which will allow the project to proceed at a lower cost and without a bidding procedure.

Martin informed the commission that Custer Ridge Project design will begin in May and will require six months to complete. The project is projected to be ready for bid this coming December or January.

Martin said that the Deerfield Estates project has been scaled back to ensure that funding does not exceed the $2 million available through grant funding. Martin added that plans call for additional funding to allow addition of remaining Deerfield customers after scaled back project has been funded.

Martin told the commission that extension of water service to Riffee Ridge is estimated to cost between $700 and $800 thousand. The extension is slated to proceed as a separate project which will require a funding source to be identified at a later date.

Rich Pullin and John Smoot addressed the commission concerning the use of $208,000 from the State of West Virginia. The Fire Service Board is proposing to use the money for operational costs and personnel expense. Smoot said that the Fire Board had a $941,000 federal grant for equipment approved which will require a ten percent match. Pullin said that funds are not currently available to meet the match and the Fire Board is waiting until after results of the upcoming Fire/Rescue Levy Election are known before taking action on the two grants. Pullin and Smoot expressed hope that the commission would supply the needed match for the equipment grant.

The commission took no action. County Manager Jeremy Young, in response to the availability of carryover from the fiscal year, said that money should be available but a more precise number would be known when the commission next meets on May 16th.

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