BUCKHANNON — Things got a bit heated at the Upshur County Annex Thursday morning during the County Commission meeting, as Commissioners continued to deal with an ongoing property case. Riffle Case Number 61319-02 (Banks Tax District – Tax Map 3P – Parcel Number 20.1) has reportedly been going on for a year and a half. The Safe Sites and Structure Board alongside the Commission have been dealing with this case since June of 2019.
During the meeting on November 5, Commissioners viewed images exhibiting significant progress on the property. They made a motion to reassess in 14 days and withdrew the fine that was supposed to be imposed beginning November 1, with hopes of closing the case, given the remaining campers on the property were removed by then. Unfortunately, after 14 days, one camper remained on the property and two campers were shuffled over to their neighbors adjoining property.
President of the Commission, Terry Cutright expressed extreme frustration with the property owners, explaining that they have had ample opportunity over the span of a year and a half to clean up their property. He stated, “I think we’ve been played around. In a year and a half, I think about anybody could clear up their property… I’m tired of playing around with it.” One of the property owners stated they were insulted by Cutright’s comments. Cutright responded, “A lot of people get their feelings hurt these days, I’ve noticed that… I feel insulted to be run around in circles like this.”
Commissioners Sam Nolte and Kristie Tenney agreed with Cutright and shared his frustration and concern. Nolte stated, “The property has been improved a great deal from the very beginning. I agree with Mr. Cutright, I mean I understand you may have some physical limits… But we have given you a good deal of time to improve it, which I feel that you have improved it. But I think our concern is, we may be right back in the same position a year from now if we close this case because you guys have taken some of this property and slid it right over the property line.”
Tenney made a motion that the property owners get the campers removed or at least in compliance regarding licensing by December 3, or a $50 a day fine be implemented thereafter. The motion was seconded by Nolte and opposed by Cutright. The motion carried; therefore, the Commission will reassess on December 3 to either close the case or impose a fine.
In other business, Commissioners approved the purchase of an x-ray inspection system for the Court Security Fund Grant Project. All sealed bids must be received no later than 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Sealed bids will be opened, reviewed, and read aloud by the Upshur County Commission at 9:05 a.m. on December 17, 2020.
They approved Federal Aviation Administration Outlay Request Number 2 in the amount of $33,408 for the Airport Improvement Program Project No. 3-54-0039-034-2020 at the Upshur County Regional Airport in Buckhannon, WV.
Commissioners received correspondence from Andrea Hull, on behalf of Larry W. Brown, requesting an on-site meeting with the Commission and extension through May 1, 2021 to complete the requirements of the Upshur County Building Permit Ordinance and Upshur County Floodplain Ordinance pertaining to the property located in Banks District, Tax Map 5T, Parcel 24. The current deadline for bringing the property into compliance is December 12, 2020. Commissioners subsequently approved Hull’s request.
Cheyenne Troxell, Tom Posey, Samantha Ribeiro Matos, Shannon Helmick, Kelly Bowyer and Cory Elliott as approved by the 26th Judicial Community Corrections Board during their meeting on November 9, 2020, were approved for a $2.50 per hour pay increase, effective for the following pay period.
Breanna Perry, as requested by County Administrator Carrie Wallace, was approved as a temporary, part-time employee. Ms. Perry will provide additional sanitation efforts at the Courthouse and Annex that are necessary due to COVID-19. Her pay wage rate will be $10 per hour, charged to the Governor’s COVID-19 Block Grant.
Commissioners received correspondence from Ora L. Ash, Deputy State Auditor, reminding Elected Officials of WV Code §7-7-7a pertaining to spending or obligating, before the end of a calendar year, more than 50 percent of the funds allocated for his or her office in the fiscal year budget, in any fiscal year where the person holding the office is leaving due to either resignation or the results of an election.
The Commission also received correspondence from Upshur Property LLC enclosing the legal advertisement for Upshur Property LLC, Permit No. P-698 Increment No. 2, in compliance with the surface mining laws of WV. The site is located in Washington District, 3.5 miles southeast of Tallmansville and discharges into Tenmile Creek of the Tygart Valley River.
The Commission meeting scheduled for November 26 has been cancelled. The next regular meeting of the County Commission will be held on December 3.