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Commission Reviews Several Local Matters

January 30, 2019

The Wetzel County Commission held a regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22 to discuss various matters throughout the county. First, the commission met with Sheriff Michael Koontz and Chief Tax Deputy Brenda Scheibelhood regarding the transfer of money to the Jury/Witness Fund. The transfer, totaling $10,000, is from a fund that has been dormant since 2005 or longer. The commissioners approved the request, and the money will remain in the new account as a cushion.

Koontz advised the commission that the department recently had a car totaled, and the department will be paid $9,047.50 from the insurance company. Koontz said he was able to get all of the equipment out of the car; however, the department is now short one vehicle. Koontz requested that the department be allowed to replace the car with a Chevy Tahoe. He explained the Chevy Tahoe is a little more expensive, but some of the deputies are taller individuals and are more comfortable in the Tahoes.

Koontz explained one of his deputies has put 115,000 miles on his Tahoe, which is nearing its life cycle. He noted this might be an opportunity to replace that vehicle.

The sheriff explained the cost for the Tahoe would be slightly offset due to the $9,000 from the insurance company. Also, some equipment from the other vehicle would be used - radios, chargers and cell phone boosters.

The commission approved the sheriff's request for the funding of a 2019 Chevy Tahoe in the amount of $47,293. The vehicle will be ordered, and it will take approximately eight weeks for delivery.

In another matter, Koontz stated that the department currently has two ATVs, that were purchased in 2004, as well as a 2015 side-by-side utility vehicle.

Koontz made a request to trade the two ATVs and the side-by-side, in order to acquire a new side-by-side that is capable of transporting four persons. Koontz said this would downsize the fleet from three vehicles to one and lower the cost of maintenance while still transporting the same amount of people. He also explained the department will need to add a new radio system.

Koontz said the department doesn't use the off-road vehicle a tremendous amount, but it is very useful when needed. He explained the department conducts patrols in the "Five Points" area during Memorial Day weekend, which has decreased the amount of accidents due to the police presence.

The commission approved the sheriff's request to trade in the three vehicles for a new 2019 four-seater at All Seasons Powersports. The commission also approved the 100-watt radio system for that vehicle in the amount of $1,994.

In another matter, the commission was given an update from the county's animal shelter, regarding an investigation the shelter is conducting. The investigation pertains to allegations of abused horses. It was explained the shelter had received photos from concerned people showing horses in very bad shape. Law enforcement investigated the matter and proclaimed the horses observed were fed and okay. However, it was later discovered the horses law enforcement had observed were different from the ones in the photograph provided. There is a fence separating the healthy horses from the alleged unhealthy ones. It is alleged all horses are owned by the same family, just different relatives.

On Jan. 15, the animal shelter was informed there was a dead horse. The shelter responded to the call but did find the horse in question; they did however observe horses eating moldy hay, and one was covered in mud. Compared to the pictures provided, there is still one horse missing, which appeared in the photos to be severely malnourished. It was noted there is no proof of where the unaccounted horse has gone. The matter is still under investigation.

In other shelter matters, a purchase was made for a couple of heaters, plus minerals, and a wormer. Other than that, everything the shelter needs has been donated.

As far as the shelter's monthly report, there was a high number of dogs, 14, adopted in the month of December because of a litter of puppies. Progress is also being made on repairs to the shelter.

In another matter, Samantha Delph from AT&T addressed the commission regarding the FirstNet System for First Responders, which was established after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. First Net Authority was established, and in March 2017, AT&T was awarded a bid to build out a first responder network. Delph gave a break-down of what is now available through this service. The commission approved the renewal of the annual Air Evac contract in the amount of $98,369. The commission also approved the appointment of Gregory Shirak as Fiduciary Commissioner, and the Avaya Telephone Maintenance Renewal in the amount of $1,287.54.



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