Corporal Mike Koontz was appointed to the position of sheriff at Tuesday morning's meeting of the Wetzel County Commission. The position was vacated after former sheriff James Hoskins turned in a letter of resignation Sept. 27. Hoskins' resignation became effective 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.
At Tuesday's meeting, Wetzel County Commission President Don Mason stated that a new sheriff was needed as soon as possible for duties such as signing checks, scheduling deputies, and mostly, for the good of the county. Mason stated that the new sheriff would be selected out of the county's present deputies.
Koontz seemed like a easy choice for the commissioners, who stated that four other deputies, as well as an elected official, had recommended Koontz. It was also stated that Koontz, who has 20 years of experience, had indicated he would accept the position.
Pictured is Corporal Mike Koontz being sworn in to his newly appointed position of Sheriff of Wetzel County. Shown in the background is Commission President Don Mason. (Photo by Lauren Riggs)
At approximately 11:30 a.m., it was voted upon by the commissioners that Koontz would be appointed sheriff. This appointment will continue until Dec. 31, 2012.
Deputy Randy Adams and Corporal Roger Spragg voiced their approval at the commission's choice. "I've worked with Mike for 16 years. I feel that he will do a good job for the next three months," Adam stated. Spragg agreed with his colleague, stating "I've known Mike most of my life, and we got promoted to corporal together. I think he'll do a great job as sheriff."
In other commission news, Superintendent of Wetzel County Schools, Diane Watt, appeared before the board on matters concerning the excess levy renewal, which will be voted on Dec. 14. Watt presented each member with a copy of the levy call, stating that the "needs for the students really don't change." Watt said the only change is in the income numbers; the rates remain the same: Class I property is 22.95 cents per $100 worth of valuation; for Class II property, 45.9 cents; and for Class III and Class IV properties, 91.8 cents. Estimated annual revenues, less allowances for exonerations, discounts, and delinquent taxes total $5,683,928.
The increased income, said Watt, will keep up with the technology needs of schools. Item "b" of the list of items for the levy to fund will improve "access to technology through the purchase of hardware, software, infrastructure, repair, and training, approximately $300,000 annually." This is $100,000 difference from the 2007 levy.
Watt added that she believes Wetzel County takes really good care of the buildings, but there is a "substantial amount of work needed on the sports complexes," due to the number of people, including non-students, who use those areas. Item "c" of the levy provides for "capital improvement, renovations and repair, maintenance of the facilities, and payment of utilities, approximately $2,000 annually." This is a minor difference from the 2007 levy, which was $1,701.26.
Watt brought the board's attention to a new item on the levy, item "h". This item provides "funds to modernize the school bus fleet, assisting in the purchase of one additional school bus per year, approximately $100,000."
Also noteworthy was item "g" on the levy, which will provide $4,000 to each public library in Wetzel County. This is a difference from the $1,500 which was specified to each library on the 2007 levy.
Watt finally requested using Wetzel County's polling sites on Dec. 14 for the county's special election.