County Will Implement Litter Control Officer
The county will soon have a litter control officer, thanks to a grant awarded to the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority.
WCSWA Terri Tyler provided the information, concerning the grant, to the Wetzel County Commission at the commission’s regular Sept. 5 meeting. According to Tyler, the grant is in the amount of $3,000, and the WCSWA is required to match those funds.
Tyler noted that the WCSWA had not used all of the funding, provided by the commission, during the summer countywide litter cleanup. She noted that the personnel, hired for the initiative, had worked until around the end of July. She said 10 tons of litter was picked up, and $18,000 was distributed for the endeavor. This amount was out of $50,000 given by the commission, for litter cleanup.
Commission Vice President Bob Gorby agreed with Tyler’s idea of using $3,000, from the remaining $18,000, for the litter control officer. Tyler noted that the officer would be paid $500 a month. The commission approved of the usage of the $3,000.
Tyler also reiterated the state’s new littering laws, which went into effect in July. Tyler gave a hypothetical scenario to the commission, noting that the amount of the lowest fine, for littering, is $100. The civil penalty cost went to $2,000. Furthermore, officials at the magistrate level cannot dispose of the cases, unless the prosecuting attorney approves. Tyler noted that, by not paying the fine and costs, a defendant can lose his/her license.
Commissioner Lisa Heasley inquired as to whether or not there are litter signs along the roads. Tyler said there are; however, these signs will need fixed – listing the newest fine.
As to the litter control officer, Tyler reported that the commission would be required to make the official appointment. She said candidates would also be required to take a test. There are currently two individuals interested in the position. Though the commission appoints the individual, the WCSWA’s insurance would cover the position.
In another matter, the commission approved the use of the Mollohan Center on Nov. 17, for the Community Festival of Trees. This event, formerly operated under the Wetzel County Chamber of Commerce, is now sponsored by the Friends of Wetzel County, through the Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Tyler remarked that $10,000 had been given to local charities, in the two years that the event has been held. The Festival of Trees does not earn any money. After expenses, to hold the event, are paid, the rest of the money goes to charity. Through the first year of the event, monies raised was given to local food pantries. Last year, the Olive Branch Animal Rescue & Refuge, Lighthouse Child Advocacy Center, and Gabriel Project, all benefitted.
This year, Grow Local Go Local, Friends of Paden City Pool, and Wetzel County Hope & Memories, have all been chosen to be recipients of the festival.
So far, $600 has been raised to go toward this year’s event. Tyler said these funds were raised via a LuLaRoe sale that was held during the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival. The Festival of Trees committee plans on holding other fundraising methods during Chili Fest and RegattaFest.
For the Festival of Trees, local organizations and businesses decorate Christmas trees, which are then auctioned off during the event. The decorated trees are featured in New Martinsville’s city building for weeks proceeding the festival. During this time, visitors to the city building can vote for their favorite tree, via a People’s Choice penny vote. Last year, The Wetzel County Assessor’s Office was the winner of the People’s Choice vote. An additional $800, for charities, was raised, thanks to the vote.
Tyler described the Festival of Trees as “a fun night.”
She said that, besides the dance, there is the tree auction, and table decor and other items are auctioned.
The event will be held Nov. 17, 7-11 p.m.