Arts & Rec allocations diminished by COVID-19 outbreak

By Peggy Mackenzie

The Greenbrier County Commission met on Tuesday morning with a full agenda, including Arts and Recreation grant allocations for fiscal year 2020/2021, county board appointments, new hires, and six FEMA bids on demolition projects.

The annual Arts & Recreation allocations announcement is usually made to a packed courthouse courtroom full of hopeful applicants. But this year the announcement was given to an empty chamber, said Commission President Lowell Rose. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the amount originally requested by the many county-wide nonprofits seeking much needed funding, was $510,406.89. The actual amount allocated came to $361,010.93.

The urgency for social distancing forced many applicants to cancel their events, said Commissioner Tammy Shifflett-Tincher. Although all applications were reviewed, several were not eligible and their applications had to be voided. Those events that did receive their allocation funding for the 2020-2021 fiscal year will likely be held later in 2021, she said.

As remarked by Commissioner Mike McClung, the differences in the totals of the two allocation figures were not unlike those in normal years. What stands out this year, he said, were the drastically lower number of applicants making the list due to the virus.

Tincher said the names of the applicants will be posted on the Greenbrier County Commission webpage, and will eventually be made available to the press after first notifying the applicants. Rose said unused allocations for the previous fiscal year (2019/2020) are required to be used by no later than June 30, 2020. It is too late to grant extensions at this time, he said.

In other county business:

  • County Clerk Robin Loudermilk stated that certification of the primary election held on June 9, 2020, could not be completed during the morning meeting until after 10 p.m. that evening owing to unmet time limit requirements. As a result, the Commission met the following morning at 9 a.m. to complete the election certification process.
  • The six bidders applying for two FEMA housing demolition projects were opened by the Commission for review. Bidders and the project demarcation numbers, referred to as 118 and 121, are as follows:
  • LD Hanna and Sons – (118) $40,686; (121) $40,381
  • Meadows Excavation & Landscaping – (118) $112,850; (121) $62,560
  • PSD Demolition & Construction – (118) $47,936; (121) $48,260
  • Lynch Construction – (118) $48,230; (121) $37,030
  • Aztec Corporation – (118) $55,326; (121) $49,204
  • Empire Salvage – (118) $54,000; (121) $45,000

These bid figures will be returned to Emergency Management Deputy Director Paula Brown for review for compatibility and whether they meet bid requirements, Rose said. The results will be posted at the next meeting.

  • The Day Report Center was approved to hire Melissa Sparks as a therapist, with all background checks completed by Executive Director Laura Legg. Tincher stated for the record that the position had been filled by another individual, but who did not work out. Sparks is now in place for that position.
  • A part-time position in the Circuit Clerk’s office to replace a retiring employee was also approved for new-hire Kimberly George.
  • The Commission announced the incoming names for appointment and reappointment to various Greenbrier County boards as listed below:
  • Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation – Steve Kattell
  • Planning Commission – Jeff Davis and Kevin Workman (with one seat still open)
  • Board of Zoning Appeals – Blaine Phillips
  • Arts & Recreation Committee – Melinda Workman and Donna Norman (with one seat still open)
  • Airport Authority – Jerry Cook
  • Farmland Protection – Tabled, due to a replacement for long-time board member Mary Clay is still being sought.
  • Board of Health – Lisa Redden, regional director of Rainelle Medical Center will represent the Western Division
  • Solid Waste Authority – Michael Eltzroth

In deference to the long-serving Chair of the Airport Authority Board, Lowell Johnson, McClung offered a vote of thanks for his service as “a job well done.” Rose said the Commission will forward a formal letter of gratitude and appreciation to Johnson.

  • In closing, Tincher observed that Tuesday marked the 4th year anniversary of the June 23, 2016 flood. She urged all to remember those lost at that time of flooding and to thank the members of the Greenbrier County 911 Center and Emergency Management crews and all who came to the aid of those caught in the flooding waters.

She also asked the community to hold thoughts and prayers for the town of Alderson after flooding occurred last Friday, flooding streets and basements and damaging roadways. Toward the resolution of these “long and frustrating” issues that continue to affect the county, Rose said the Commission is “always working diligently” to resolve them. “These bids we opened today are part of that effort,” he said.

 

 

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