As anticipated, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to file suit against the New River Community and Technical College (NRCTC) to recover the remaining $1 million allocated to the college’s Foundation to fund the swimming pool’s renovation.
The motion to file suit, made by Commissioner Mike McClung at the previous commission meeting, was tabled at the request of Commissioner Woody Hanna to allow for time for any other solution to appear. But at last Tuesday’s meeting, Hanna moved to take the motion from the table. At that point Commissioner McClung made a motion to amend his motion made on Nov. 12, adding “to give prosecuting attorney Patrick Via authority to answer interpleader action.”
The New River’s interpleader complaint was filed on Friday in Raleigh County Circuit Court by the college foundation and will ask the court to decide “the proper disposition of certain funds previously delivered to [the college foundation] by the Greenbrier County Commission.”
In other business:
• Executive director of the West Virginia State Fairgrounds, Marlene Jolliffe asked the Commission to consider serving as sponsor for a “pass-through grant” from the WV Department of Highways to construct a tunnel beneath Hwy. 219 just beyond where the overhead walkway crosses the road leading to the fairgrounds from the parking lot in Fairlea. She stated the addition of the tunnel permits additional access to the fairgrounds for pedestrians and events.
• GEHS Choir Boosters Kelly Kemp and Martha Pleshman requested funds to support the purchase of new uniforms for the choir members, noting that several years ago the GCC contributed to the high school’s band uniforms. A discussion ensued which included members of the arts and recreation committee members Doug Hylton and Cathey Sawyer over whether funds from the arts & rec account could be applied to purchases for the school choir. Hylton stated the policy clearly states that the arts & rec funds cannot be given to state agencies. Commissioner Mike McClung asked of the petitioners why the school didn’t buy the uniforms, adding that the County’s budget is a lot less that the Board of Education. Kemp said the choir performs at civic functions which could qualify the group for the arts and rec funds. Commission President Karen Lobban said she’d like to see a change in the policy of the arts and rec at the legislative level. The Commission suggested the GEHS Boosters apply to the arts and rec committee as one of their resources for the needed $10,000 project.
• Doug Hylton had four requests for the GCC. All four were approved: 1) The Meadow River Rail Trail project is slowly making its way to completion. He said some “found money” at an 80/20 percent match has been made available to the county for the trail project. He requested the Commission add an additional $92,452 to the grants being processed for a total check of $133,702, which will give the county an added $369,806 to be included with the $842,500 in grants. All told, this amount added to the previous grant awards would yield over $1 million on the trail construction. He said a trestle in Greenbrier County must be made safe for walking and biking traffic and that is where most of the funding to finish the trail will go.
2) The Greenbrier County Historic Landmarks Commission request for an annual $7,000 to complete Phase V of the Greenbrier County’s Survey of historic assets. The northern county areas have been covered, Hylton said. This phase will address White Sulphur Springs, Harts Run, Organ Cave and the Ronceverte Historic District.
3) A $17,500 grant for the improvements to the County Clerk’s office to provide binding for record books, pay for a part time person to scan documents, and to purchase a laptop station to house HLC records for public access.
4) Lastly, he brought to the Commission’s attention to the Courthouse Facilities Assessment Report recommending $2,132,000 in renovations to the courthouse. He suggested a committee be formed to look into the Judicial Annex project which was started some three years ago as a starting place for the needed expansions.
• A Public Hearing time and date was set for the Enhanced 911 Ordinance to increase landline fees from $2 to $3 per phone, in a request by 911 Emergency Services Department executive director Al Whitaker. That Hearing was set for Dec. 17 at 10 a.m.