By Adam Pack
In a short meeting held Tuesday, Jan. 25, the Greenbrier County Commission met to discuss funding for broadband, COVID-19 leave policy, and more.
The commission approved sending a request to the West Virginia Department of Economic Development’s Gigready Incentive Program for funds for broadband. The Gigready program functions effectively as a grant, which counties or municipalities may apply to receive before the Jan. 31 deadline. The commission applied for the maximum amount available, and must match approximately 25 percent of the grant with county funds. The funds matched by the county are in the amount of $6,690,787.50. The total project will cost just over $26,000,000.
Those funds for which the county is responsible will be taken from the TIF fund, and not the county’s general funds. The amount was reserved within TIF for this purpose.
Commissioner Tammy Tincher was positive about the request, saying this is “the first step in getting funds from the state for a broadband project that the county wishes to proceed with to cover the county with broadband.”
Commission President Lowell Rose reported, “This has been in the works for nearly three years now, and if we can get these funds approved, it’ll help a lot of southern West Virginia. For Greenbrier County it’ll mean that we can get broadband to nearly everyone that doesn’t already have it, from the western districts all the way across.”
The Commission also updated the County Commission COVID policy. The policy was started at the beginning of 2021 and has now expired. The policy renewal states that employees are allowed 14 non-sick days of quarantine in the case of COVID infection. Though Commission President Rose noted, “The CDC has dropped that number from fourteen to ten at one point, and is now down to five,” he and the commission agreed to allow county employees to continue to have 14 days for quarantining without having to use sick days “to keep a level playing field for everybody, so to speak.”
The Commission voted unanimously to approve the resolution.