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Wetzel County Commission Explores Courthouse Annex Options at Meeting

By Staff | Oct 18, 2017

During its regular Oct. 10 meeting, the Wetzel County Commission met with representatives of Swiss Valley Associates to discuss adding an annex to the courthouse for more office and storage space. Representatives Matt Blake and Dana Indermuhle explained to the commission that a study is necessary to determine how much supplemental space the courthouse requires and what available options to meet those needs.

Commissioner Lisa Heasley voiced concerns over the availability of land to build on surrounding the courthouse.

“We don’t really have our ducks in a row. We have a need, but we really don’t know what the need is because we don’t know what’s available,” Heasley said.

Blake agreed to do a program analysis to determine the amount of space the courthouse needs.

The commission questioned Blake and Indermuhle on the possibilities of building the annex behind the courthouse. Because there is concern that the area risks flooding, Indermuhle informed the commission that several places in similar situations decided to build on columns, elevating the first floor and using the space under the new construction for parking. He went on to explain that the first step in the process is deciding how much space is needed.

Commissioners approved the motion to fund the study of program requirements for the future annex starting at $1,000 and not exceeding $2,000.

The commission examined a proposal presented by Global Science and Technology Inc. to provide technical support service for the computer systems and internet already in use at the courthouse. Cannon Wadsworth and Brian Clem spoke to the commission on behalf of the company and explained services the proposal covers.

Commissioner Heasley voiced frustration over the current state of the network in the courthouse. She stated that the internet is very slow and that there was no single mail server that covered the courthouse. Clem and Wadsworth explained slow internet speeds are the result of not having enough bandwidth to support the demand. They mentioned that until Verizon upgrades equipment, the courthouse needs to limit the use of bandwidth. They also offered to provide their own host mail server for the courthouse.

Heasley questioned the pair about the firewall and antivirus protection priced in the proposal. It was explained that these are one-time fees that would renew every three years, and that the commission would be able to purchase this software, independent of GST. Prosecutor Tim Haught queried whether this service would need to go to bid, or if the commission could purchase this service. It was decided that tech support is not a commodity and therefore did not need to go to bid, but the commission would need to exclude the firewall and antivirus protection that was originally in the proposal.

Dan Garcia spoke to the commission about drainage problems at the DaVita Clinic. The commission owns the property but not the building with the drainage problems. Because DaVita owns the building, they are financially responsible for repairs. Garcia explained that poor drainage is allowing water to get in the crawl space below the building. He told the commission he believed that flatting the area around the building, so that it slopes away from the structure, and adding drains under the window wells would stop the flooding.

Prosecutor Tim Haught explained the commission owns the ground and it is subleased to the building commission. DaVita then pays rent to the building commission. He explained that all parties must sign off on that agreement before any further action can be taken.

In other news the commission approved hiring Casey Coulter to work for the circuit clerk’s office beginning Oct. 16.

Salary changes in the circuit court were approved after Commissioner Lawrence Lemon confirmed that the changes were not to the budget, but stemmed from replacing Toni Bliss, who recently retired.

The commission went on to approve the hiring of Jennifer McAllister to the assessor’s office and an increase in Charles Tennant’s salary, predicated on his responsibilities in taking over the home confinement program.