The Greenbrier East High School Music Boosters made a bid for funds at the Greenbrier County Commission meeting on Tuesday evening. The courtroom was filled with parents and several uniformed student band members “desperately seeking” to purchase much needed new band uniforms for the Greenbrier East Marching Spartans.
“These kids deserve new uniforms,” said booster president Tammy Rhodes, whose request came to a total of $50,000 for 100 new uniforms that cost $500 each and take six months to make.
“Fifty thousand dollars is above our annual resource budget,” said band director Jim Allder.
The uniforms have a 10-year life span, and these are approaching that limit, having been purchased in 2007, Rhodes said. Each year, new kids join the school marching band. They come in all sizes and shapes, and each year the uniforms must be fixed to fit the next wearer. “After a while, they just fall apart,” she said.
“The kids have had a tremendous year,” she said. “They are in competitions all over the state and they need to feel proud in good uniforms.”
Rhodes and Allder said their request was previously turned down by the city of Lewisburg. Mayor John Manchester reportedly told the boosters that the city’s hands were tied because the high school is not within the city’s boundaries. He urged them to try the county commission.
McClung’s response was to point out that Lewisburg receives a full 6-percent of bed tax money, while the county gets 1.5 percent. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” he said. “The public schools don’t meet the guidelines of the [bed tax] program. It’s a matter of code.”
Where else could they go for funding? McClung waved his arm at the camera at the rear of the room, where the meeting was being televised for the local TV channels, and said, “Hopefully, the camera will serve to get a response.”
Commissioner Woody Hanna followed up and got the address to forward any donations offered:
Greenbrier East Music Boosters, P.O. Box 1336, Lewisburg, WV 24901. Rhodes asked to please include “For Uniforms” in the subject line of the check.
At the close of the presentation, the eight to 10 uniformed students, shouldered their drums and filed out to a rapping patter of drumbeats as they departed the courtroom to the foyer and out the doors.
In other business:
• A policy and procedures manual for home confinement officers was approved after being tabled at the last meeting.
• Carla Jones and Haley Bettinger, two new part-time employees at the 911 Center, were approved to transition to full-time, per executive director Al Whitaker’s request.
• A contract renewal that included a $95 monthly increase was on the agenda for Sentinel Managed Services and their net-defense internet security for fiscal year 2016-17. Sentinel Managed Services’ representative Carla Persinger, said more stringent security and added services to the old jail, the sheriff’s office, the prosecutor’s office and the Day Report Center accounts for the increase in monthly fees. The item was tabled in a motion by Hanna, who said he’d like time to digest the information.
• The commission also tabled a consideration for a new Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant employee in the prosecutor’s office to assist with processing crime victim compensation and victim assistance programs.
• This year’s election day, Nov. 8, will fall on the day that is usually reserved for a county commission meeting. The commissioners voted to move the meeting to the next day, Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 10 a.m.
• During the public comments period, Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) member Kelly Goddard came forward to request county funding to replace 187 chairs and 28 tables lost during the flood at the VFW post center on Main Street in Rainelle. His request amounted to $4,224.
The only money the VFW raises as a non-profit comes from bingo games held at the post, and every penny made goes back into the community, Goddard said. The post itself was a complete loss. Goddard said the vets with Run for the Wall came to Rainelle to distribute coats for the local children, and gave the VFW $10,000 to replace the roof for the building, but they are still $12,000 short. The VFW’s efforts in seeking loans or grants have not resulted in any funding. In the meantime, the Moose Lodge across the street has offered the use of their facilities to continue the bingo games, but they have no tables and chairs.
The commission responded with a promise to present the request at a special meeting with the arts and recreation committee.
• County Clerk Robin Loudermilk announced once again early voting began this week on Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 5 at the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and at the Rupert Community Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.