By Peggy Mackenzie
The Greenbrier County Commission held their first April meeting on Tuesday with no visitors present in the courtroom as a continued precaution against contamination from COVID-19. Under consideration on the agenda were several encouraging projects, including FEMA asbestos testing, broadband proposals and courthouse roof repairs.
Four sealed bids for FEMA/HMGP asbestos testing were received and opened for various demolition projects, located in Rainelle, Rupert and White Sulphur Springs, which remain as a result the 2016 floods. Two bidders separated the bids into two areas, east and west county:
EnviroCheck – two projects at $7,960 and $5,970, and Greenbrier Environmental, Inc. – two projects at $3,360 and $2,520. The other two bidders broke the bids down individually: Empire Salvage & Recycling – several projects at $500 each for $7,000 total, and MarCom Installations – several projects at $600 each for $8,400 total. The bids will be returned to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for evaluations before determining the recipient of the total demo project.
Four broadband proposals for the county were received. Interviews will need to be scheduled, Commission President Lowell Rose said. Having reviewed the submissions, he was inclined to wait until May. In spite of the delay, he thought face- to-face interviews would yield more direct information than interviews over the phone for the Commission to make their consultant selection. It was agreed to wait until the first meeting in May to schedule.
The Commission also reviewed four bids to repair the courthouse roof, and accepted a bid totaling $68,380 to clean, repair and replace materials as needed. With the signing of the contract, the work must begin within 10 days and be completed within 90 days.
In other business:
- Region 4 spokesperson Cassie Lawson updated the Commissioner by speakerphone on Access Road Resolution #4, a TIF-related item for $168,168, which included an additional $10,983 covering engineering expenses, bringing the total to $179,151. The Resolution was approved by the Commission. A second TIF item, not specific to any project, which included legal service fees from Steptoe & Johnson, was approved for $10,584.50. Lawson assured the Commission all expenses are funded from the existing TIF.
- A Proclamation declaring Apr. 12-18 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week was approved to recognize the 911 Center’s telecommunicators. As the first critical contact for those in need of emergency services, the public safety telecommunicators are the first responders who ascertain the location, nature, and extent of the emergency and respond under high pressure, with empathy and understanding while exhibiting a high degree of professionalism.
- To give meaning to equal rights and to encourage mutual respect to race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin, the Commission passed the Fair Housing Resolution.
- A request to waive building permit fees from the Aquatic Center in support of the construction project for a public pool on the grounds of the State Fair of West Virginia was approved as a contribution to the Center by the County Commission.
- The Commission will set the Levy for 2020 on Apr. 21, at 9 a.m.
- With the primary election in West Virginia having been postponed to June 9, 2020, County Clerk Robin Loudermilk reported that a statement from the Governor urging residents to make use of absentee voting by mail as a safety precaution generated a number of calls from people resisting the governor’s request and instead preferring to go to the polls to cast their votes in person.
“The polls will be open as usual,” Loudermilk said. “You can do what you want. We have taken all necessary safety precautions for the voters with sanitizers, pencils and 6-foot distancing. I feel really secure that we’ve done everything needed for the voters to come to the polling places (at the Courthouse and Rupert) to cast their votes.” If residents receive an application for an absentee by mail, they are welcome to send it in, she said. They must be received by June 9, 2020 to be counted.
• Rose offered a final report on the Greenbrier County Emergency Preparedness Task Force, which includes the DHHR, the 911 Center, the CVB, GGEDC and the County Commission, stating that the groups are working well together and have prepared an update for the press on what it will look like when the county is reopened for business.