By Adam Pack
Tuesday morning’s regular meeting of the Greenbrier County commission began with an address to the commission by Mary Carr of Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, in her capacity as a representative of the Children’s Memorial Flag Day Committee. Carr requested that the commission officially proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and announce this year’s date for the Children’s Memorial Flag Day Ceremony. Carr and the committee requested the use of the outside of the courthouse for the ceremony, as well as the use of the first floor courtroom in the event of rain. The commission was more than happy to approve this, with Commissioner Tincher noting, “We’ve been unable to do this for the last couple of years, so we’d be very glad to have you all back for the ceremony.” The motion to approve the use of courthouse property for the Children’s Memorial Flag Day Ceremony on Apr. 28 at 12 noon was approved.
The proclamation of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month reads, in part: “Whereas, in federal fiscal year 2022, more than 3.1 million reports of child abuse were made to child protective services, and whereas child abuse and neglect is a serious problem affecting every segment of our community and finding solutions requires input and action from everyone … be it resolved that the Greenbrier County Commission does hereby proclaims the month of April, 2023, as Child Abuse Prevention Month, and encourages all citizens to become interested in the lives of children and families living around them, to offer support, helping to reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment.” The Commission signed the proclamation unanimously.
The county also took another step towards realizing the goal of broadband internet access in the Quinwood area. At Tuesday’s meeting, the commission accepted a bid for legal counsel services for the project. The firm selected will work with the county’s legal counsel to help deal with all legal matters pertaining to the acquisition of land, drafting of contracts, and other issues arising throughout the life of the project. The firm selected was Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC of Charleston, West Virginia. Commissioner Rose explained the decision by saying, “we’ve used Steptoe [& Johnson] before and have always had a good experience.”
The county also presented their budget for Fiscal Year 2023-24. The commission took time to discuss the upcoming rate increase from PEIA. PEIA, as per legislative acts in the most recent session, will soon be raising their rates. The percentage of the raise is not yet locked down but will soon be finalized by the PEIA board. PEIA member institutions have been advised to budget for and prepare for a 20 percent increase.
The Commission explained that this is not the first rate increase as of late, and that they will be responding in the same way as last time. “We had a 5 percent increase last year, and what we did then was simply to take that extra cost onto ourselves [the county]. We’ll be doing that again this year, whatever the percentage may turn out to be.” The county currently pays 80% of the costs associated with PEIA coverage for all county employees, and will continue to do so, and will absorb the cost of the rate increase without changing the current 80/20 split. The commission wanted to stress that “while we won’t be changing the split, PEIA users who work for the county will not see an increase in their rates.”
In closing, Commissioner Tincher reminded the public that, “as of this Friday, if your taxes are not paid, you will be determined delinquent on your taxes as of Apr. 1. You can pay your taxes here at the courthouse, or online.”
The Greenbrier County Commission will meet again on Tuesday, Apr. 11, at 10 a.m. in the Greenbrier County Commission offices, in the basement of the courthouse. The public is encouraged to attend. Interested parties should call 304-647-6689 ahead, as times and dates are subject to change.