WILLIAMSON — The Mingo County Commission conducted their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday of this week. Commission President John Mark Hubbard and David Baisden were present; Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith was absent.
Drawdown requests from the Tug Valley Recovery Shelter ($2,179.63 for January expenses) and the Mingo County Housing Authority ($21,069 from the Housing Reconstruction fund for safety repairs to a home in Williamson) were approved.
Barbara Chafin, a resident from Straight Fork, appeared before the commission and asked whether any county officials had been in contact with the Department of Highways (DOH) or the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), concerning the flooding that residents in her community experience anytime it rains for any length of time at all, and voiced her concern that nothing had been done to correct or prevent further occurrences.
Chafin stated she was informed that proper drainage permits were not obtained when the Mingo Central High School football field and parking lot were put in and that it has caused a lot of problems for the residents. Chafin said that she had personally contacted both the DEP and the DOH, along with several other offices but added that she had been unsuccessful in her attempts to receive assistance.
Chafin also asked that the litter enforcement officers come to Straight Fork and to the Red Jacket area to try to get some of the litter violators under control. Commissioner Hubbard made a motion to draft a letter to both the DEP and DOH regarding the issues at this location and was seconded by Baisden.
Dave Boggs, J.B. Stafford and Brock Stafford spoke with the commission regarding their concerns with the Elmer Brown Bridge on Rt. 65, which accesses the area they live in. Boggs stated that they still need the bridge repaired, and said they have some of the materials necessary to do the improvements and requested the assistance of the judges work program to perform the task. The residents would like to see the repairs completed as soon as possible, since there is no other in or out access except the bridge.
Commissioner Baisden stated that the judge was in the process of reviewing the statute regarding bridges to see if he was allowed to let the work crew perform the repairs. Boggs remarked that he had been told by the DOH that they needed to obtain a letter from the Emergency Services Director (Jerrod Fletcher) saying that the condition of the bridge has created concerns for the safety and welfare of the 40 plus families living in the immediate area, many of whom are elderly and disabled.
Commission President Hubbard made a motion that a letter be drafted to Jimmy Ginata, the WV Emergency Services and Homeland Security Director, in support of the urgent need for repairs and of the danger the bridge’s state of disrepair has created for the residents who live in the area. NS Railroad will also be contacted. The motion was seconded by Baisden.
Rhoda Baisden, a member of the Glorious Church of Jesus Christ, appeared before the commission regarding a request for financial assistance to reopen the community food pantry previously operated from their church that was closed a few months ago due to a lack of funding. Baisden stated their church is receiving more requests for food assistance than ever before and would like to be able to help those in need. The church member said that the House of Hope in Delbarton is willing to supply them with some non-perishable food items and requested a financial contribution from the Commission that would be utilized to get the pantry back up and going. Commissioner Hubbard made a motion to approve a $1,000 contribution to this cause and was seconded by his fellow commissioner.
Program directors from the Delbarton Regional Christian School Archery Club had asked to be on the agenda to request financial assistance to purchase equipment for their newly-founded club. They stated they have trained instructors already in place to teach the class but that the cost of the equipment is going to be somewhere in the vicinity of $3,500. They remarked they have conducted fundraisers but have only raised $200 to date.
Commissioner Hubbard stated that at this time, the county cannot make a financial contribution to this program but said that if the school manages to raise at least $1,500, they will do their best to match that amount.
Tina Lockard presented the Grant information due to the County Grant Coordinator, Leigh Ann Ray, being out of the office on sick leave. Orders and Settlements were presented on behalf of the County Clerk’s office for approval and to be placed on record, and were approved. The Commissioners went into executive session to discuss personnel matters and upon their return; President Hubbard stated that no action regarding personnel had been taken.