By Peggy Mackenzie
At the first meeting in a brand new year, Lowell Rose, as the incoming commissioner, was welcomed at the Tuesday night meeting. As the first order of business, Commissioner Woody Hanna quickly nominated Mike McClung to be the new commission president, and with a second from Rose, McClung’s nomination was approved. That action was followed by affirming the commission’s twice monthly meeting days and times, the courthouse workshift hours, and adopting the state’s 2015 holiday calendar.
Rose suggested the GCC’s twice monthly meetings be changed to include a daytime and an evening meeting, as was once the set schedule, so that courthouse employees could attend during working hours. Beginning in February, the first GCC meeting of the month will be set for 10 a.m. The second meeting will be in the evening at 7 p.m. as usual. The courthouse workshift hours will remain the same: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The commission then confinned the committee assignments for each commissioner. The assignments are as follows:
Michael McClung – Airport Authority, Community Enhancement District, Courthouse Security Committee, Dilapidated Building Committee, Homeland Security, and Local Emergency Planning Commission.
Woody Hanna – 4-H Extension Board, 911 Advisory Committee, Animal Shelter Advisory Board, Designated Retirement Community Committee, Farmland Protection Board, Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Committee, and Local Elected Officials Board-Workforce.
Lowell Rose – Board of Health, Day Report Center Committee, Employee Benefits Board, Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Planning Commission, and Region 4 Planning and Development.
The following boards are held by all three commission members: Arts and Recreation Allocation Committee and Re-Districting Committee.
In new business, the commission approved filling two open positions on the 911 advisory board, per a request by 911 Executive Director Al Whitaker: Clintonville Volunteer Fire Chief David Sykes and Ronceverte Police Chief J.R. “Rusty” Byer. Whitaker also received approval for a Homeland Security grant of $36,100 to purchase five NHF/VHF-able radios, greatly expanding the capabilities of the department.
Commissioner Woody Hanna offered two new names as private sector members to the Region IV Planning and Development Board: Randy Pendleton from Rainelle and Jim Campbell of Frankford. They will join Tom Cross, G. Scott and Betty Crookshanks as representing Greenbrier County on that board.
Greenbrier Countian Mary Jo Sharp presented a public comment to the commission, in the form of asking for financial assistance to keep the Committee on Aging afloat. She said the nonprofit’s situation is desperate, citing the closure of the Fairlea Center and the immediate need to cut the Meals on Wheels program if funds do not materialize.
As an indication of the need for the Committee on Aging’s food service, last month the nonprofit served 1,297 meals on site and 2,314 meals to the home-bound. Sharp said she has seen many elderly eat only half their lunch, provided by the center, saving it for their evening meal.
So far this fiscal year, the commission was able to give Committee on Aging $20,000, an amount half of what the commission has allocated to the nonprofit in past years. Sharp said the state has cut funding for the aged by $53,000 as well. Hanna said other nonprofits are in the same fix as coal severance funds continue to shrink.