By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County Commission met Tuesday, Aug. 8, to align their policies with the situation regarding COVID-19. Britt Ludwig, Legal counsel for the county, informed the Commission that, “As a result of COVID, we were allowing employees to take extra sick days when those days were related to COVID-19.” With the Governor lifting the State of Emergency earlier this year, Ludwig recommended that the Commission rescind those extra sick days for county employees. The Commission did so, approving a return to a pre-COVID sick leave policy. Ludwig made the Commission aware, as well, that “if COVID were to reemerge or see a resurgence, the county could reinstate the former policies, as this is technically a suspension.”
In other news, the Commission heard from two different local organizations. First, Ruthanna Beasly of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Council (EDC) briefed the Commission on the recent work of the EDC. The EDC was happy to announce their recent reception of a “AA” grading for biomass from the lumber and timber industries in Greenbrier County. This is significant as, “it helps businesses who produce biofuels like biogas and biodiesel that we have the infrastructure, the timber assets, and other assets recognize that this is a great place to do business. And it really does do that because we are the first region in the state to receive this grading, and only the fourth in America to do so, so we’re very excited about this.” Beasly also discussed issues facing the EDC. Chief among them are the lack of housing for potential workforce, with short-term rental properties “constricting” the housing market in the area, and a lack of land zoned for manufacturing and or warehousing. Beasly also requested that Jennifer Mason be appointed to the council to replace the outgoing Steven Keadle, for a term ending on June 30, 2027. The Commission approved this request and instated Mason to the seat on the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Council. The Commission also reappointed Jeff Davis to the Greenbrier County Planning Commission for another term, which will also end on June 30, 2027
The Commission then heard from the Greenbrier County Farmland Protection Bureau, represented by Amy Maloney, Director of the Greenbrier County Farmland Protection Board. Maloney began by reminding the Commission and public that her organization has existed since 2000, offering landowners the opportunity to have their land protected, “primarily from subdivision and soil disturbance” via selling it to the Bureau in order to have that land designated as a “conservation easement.” Since that time the Bureau has worked with state, local, and federal agencies as well as the County Commission to protect roughly 3,000 acres of farmland. Maloney requested the approval of purchase of a conservation easement on property offered by the McCormick Family. The property, 92.6 acres in the Irish Corner District, would cost $112,000. The Commission approved the purchase of this conservation easement.
The Commission also transferred $1,816.20 to the Greenbrier County Airport Authority as a result of a Potential Noncompliance Dismissal Letter from the Federal Aviation Administration and approved the hire of Lucinda Hanna for the 911 Dispatch Center. She was described by Commissioner Tammy Tincher as, “an interested applicant with a very good work history.”