BUCKHANNON — Department of Highways (DOH) Upshur County Supervisor Benjamin Claypool and Maintenance Assistant David Oldaker wanted to put a face to the name and update the Upshur County Commissioners on their plans and current projects Thursday morning.
Due to the large amount of concerns from the community about the roads, Claypool hopes to create a direct line of communication between the DOH and the county. Through this line of communication, they want to provide the best information possible to the public to put their concerns at ease and keep them updated. Claypool mentioned that the preferred method of reporting is directly calling the office of the DOH. Claypool further explained that the public can also report through the website, however, this method is much less efficient than calling.
The DOH is currently working on a drainage issue on Norvell Drive. This is a lengthy process given the fact that everything must be approved by Upshur County, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Although this is not going to be a quick process, Claypool assured the Commissioners that the survey has been done and they are currently scheduling to draw up the blueprints.
Oldaker explained that there is a very comprehensive list of roads maintained by the city that can be made available to the public, as well as a comprehensive maintenance projected list, which are done in half years. The DOH covers 750 miles of road in Upshur County, which put into prospective the number of miles it takes to drive to Florida.
Oldaker wanted to convey to the public, “We do have a plan and we will get to your road, but we like to stick to that plan.” Claypool concluded, “I believe with some patience and time, that we will get the road system in Upshur County where it needs to be.”
In further news, the City of Buckhannon’s Attorney Tom O’Neill requested a revision of the resolution that the County Commission previously approved on October 31, 2019. The resolution was drafted by Attorney Shannon Smith in regard to the Commission appropriating the sum of $15,000 annually to the City of Buckhannon in consideration of fire protection services within the Buckhannon Fire Department’s first-due area lying within the unincorporated area of Upshur County. The City of Buckhannon requests that the language of the resolution be modified to remove the language stating that the appropriation is made in consideration of fire protection within the unincorporated portion of the full-time Department’s first-due area.
O’Neill’s assessment is that if the appropriation was accepted as it is currently worded, such wording may be interpreted as to establish a contractual relationship as contemplated in West Virginia §8-15-3(a) and establish the limit of the City’s earnings at an unacceptably low level. West Virginia §8-15-3(a) can be found at http://www.wvlegislature.gov/WVCODE/code. County Commissioner Kristie Tenney expressed, “We do recognize and value all of the public service and first responders that are provided in Upshur County…and that is why we are looking at giving this donation.” The Commission feels they have already passed their resolution with no concerns; therefore, the resolution will stay as is. The Commission hopes the City will accept this resolution and assist with the escalating costs of providing fire protection, which has been agreed upon by both the City and the County as a significant need in the community.