BUCKHANNON — Councilman C.J. Rylands has requested city council move forward with the Buckhannon and Upshur County Strategic Planning and Emergency Operations Framework that was brought up three years ago. Rylands said the council had several prior discussions about the delivery of emergency services and had meetings with Jeff Harvey owner of JH Consulting about a three-phase comprehensive study that was never funded or put in place.
“We haven’t got started,” Rylands said. “I don’t think it’s on the agenda to assign any funds to this, but I would recommend maybe in the next meeting or two that we budget $5,000 in conjunction with the county to fund the first phase of this plan.”
Rylands said the first phase of the plan is a base for the rest of the plan. The first phase would be studying what currently exists and what is happening with the delivery of emergency services in the city and county and then that would be reaching out to every entity that’s involved in those services. He said the second phase would take place probably in about a year and half and it would be to study what the best practices are and whether they have been successful in other communities. The third phase would be to look at how the city can implement these best practices into our framework.
Rylands said the funding for this project could likely come from reimbursed grants, but for now they should go ahead and allocate the funds.
“We have to get this thing started,” Rylands said. “I thought if we put up our share of the first phase the county would then reciprocate and we would have something started because three years and nothing’s happened. So I’ve never finished anything I didn’t start. I would strongly recommend we make this investment.”
Rylands said investing in this plan is similar to the accreditation the Buckhannon Fire Department is undergoing and admitted he knows the process could take a while.
“I think this is not going to be easy,” Rylands said. “It’s going to be multi-year plan but we have a local expert in Jeff Harvey and we have the outline already.”
Mayor David McCauley said this plan would benefit the whole community.
“The other element of this is we are trying to increase our competencies with this collaborative effort, but it’s the BU community,” McCauley said. “The Buckhannon-Upshur community is going to raise the bar for everybody as far as sharing of information and collaboration throughout all of the county and everybody’s going to be better in our community.”
The mayor said the council will try to allocate funds for this plan in the next budgetary session while also looking for grants for reimbursement.