Deanna McConaughey and Sharon Winer appeared before the Wetzel County Commission Tuesday morning with a request for $8,000 funding for the growing New Martinsville Records Challenge and Regatta, which will take place Sept. 28 and 29.
"We are back again, first of all, with a major thank you for what you did for us. It was a wonderful event last year thanks to all of you and the businesses that contributed," Winer stated. Winer said the challenge anticipated 15 entries for last year's time travels and ended up with 28. Furthermore, only one of those entries was from West Virginia. The farthest entries were from upper Michigan and Florida. Winer stated that out-of-state participants had to stay somewhere in town for the event, as well as shop for gasoline and other necessities in town. Therefore, "that's a good economic impact for Wetzel County," she stated. "That's what we were looking for."
Winer stated that the committee is striving for innovation and tradition. "You want to keep tradition alive, but you have to be innovative to keep the idea of being fresh and appealing . . . We want to add boat racing. It's a tradition, but it hasn't been done in a while."
Winer stated that approximately 23 records were set last year; in fact, thanks to last year's event, Wetzel County now holds the most records for one location. "If my records are correct, that's a global record," she stated.
Furthermore, commissioners were thanked for "the privilege of allowing the regatta to represent Wetzel County in the Sesquicentennial parade in Charleston." Winer said several members of the Regatta and Records Challenge committee are attending the event in Charleston; also, two boat drivers will also bring their race boats.
Winer stated that one of the race boats is so big that it has to be tilted at an angle when transported by trailer. The other boat is owned by a local man in Huntington, who will not have to commute far to get to the parade. Winer said signs will state that the regatta group is "proudly representing Wetzel County" and will also include the dates of the regatta event, their logo, as well as their website address. Furthermore, she said if the county wants to add things to the website in the meantime, to give Deanna the information.
Winer said the requested $8,000 is an increase from what was given last year; however, the group is seeking to grow, which will hopefully equal "a pretty positive economic impact." Two classes are being added; plus, the committee is also looking to add a junior class from the American Power Boat Association. This class will be for nine- to 13-year olds. "They are fun and exciting," Winer said. "They get the crowd pretty excited . . . You can't help but love a nine-year-old kid with a smile when he gets the checkered flag. It's positive for kids; we want to do it on a Saturday, so they don't miss any school . . . It's a great example for the local kids."
Winer stated that furthermore, adding races would increase entries because "with just the records, you have the top boat in that class . . . Everyone else looks at the entry and sees they cannot beat that. If you have a race, you bring in an entire class, and that means five to 10 boats in that class racing."
In another matter, Assessor Scott Lemley, along with Cathy Phillips from the Wetzel County Assessor's Office, approached commissioners regarding new online personal property filing in the assessor's office. This new online customer service feature in the assessor's office will become active July 1, according to Lemley, who added that the new way of filing is very user-friendly. To file online, the citizen can access the URL at wetzel.wvassessor.com/onlinefiling. Next, the citizen will need to know a piece of information that was filed last year, such as Year, Make, Model, or VIN of a vehicle that was filed last year.
This will help verify their identity. The account number from their form is helpful, but not necessary.
If a citizen is a new filer, a button is available for new filers. No previous information is required in this case. Furthermore, Lemley noted that a screen may be blank and require no information if the taxpayer has not made any real estate improvements. In this case, the user can continue past this screen.
Lemley stated that Global Science and Technology, located in Fairmont, has already pulled the county's personal property in and the link should be up and running on July 1, adding "As with anything new, hopefully there are no bugs to work out. It's been used by other counties, but if anything happens, call the assessor's office." Lemley stated he wanted to use Tuesday's commission meeting as a way to get the information out to the public, as he did not insert pamphlets or stuffers in recent mailings from the assessor's office because he was not sure the system would be up and running. "I never want to do something unless it is in place," he noted.
The commission was informed that people can report their dogs, sheep, and goats online, but they cannot pay online yet. However, once the assessor's office receives such personal property information, they will send an invoice out. "I'm not comfortable doing online payments yet," Lemley said.
Lemley did add that all of the assessor's office software is now through one company; furthermore, the new software was not all that expensive, being between $2,000 and $3,000.
"I was shocked it was such a minimal amount," Lemley noted.
Furthermore, the new software will expedite business on the assessor's side as instead of rekeying information from forms, the user on the assessor's side can just tell the program where to put the information.
Lemley also praised Phillips for being very helpful and knowledgeable with the new software.
In another matter, the commission approved the reappointment of Janey Longwell to serve on the Northern Panhandle Workforce Investment Board.