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Commission Supports State Employees

By Staff | Feb 28, 2018

At its Feb. 20 regular meeting, the Wetzel County Commission released a letter of support for state employees.

The letter noted that the commission supports “teacher, service, and state employees in their effort to obtain a pay raise and affordable healthcare benefits.”

“We certainly realize this is a difficult issue, but action is needed now to avoid the further loss of good teachers and other essential state employees.”

The letter of support was signed by all three commissioners and will be delivered to state lawmakers.

The Hundred Volunteer Fire Department put in a request to the commission for funding to help purchase new fire equipment. Hundred VFD had lost a pickup truck, mini-pumper and a tanker in the July 28-29 flood of 2017. Insurance paid $50,000 on each piece of equipment, but that was not enough to replace what had been lost. The VFD has filed with FEMA for some reimbursement, but they have not received an answer yet and are in need of new equipment. Therefore, they have purchased a new mini-pumper at the cost of $138,000. The VFD will be taking out a loan to pay half of the cost and requested a donation from the county commission to help reduce payments. After some discussion, the commission agreed to donate $30,000 to Hundred VFD.

Garrett Peters and Chad Wiggington of K E Andrews, representing Mountaineer Midstream – a subsidiary of Summit, along with Prosecuting Attorney Tim Haught and County Assessor Scott Lemley held an exoneration hearing in the commission chambers. The hearing was over the Mobley to Sherwood gasline, which both Summit and Mark West have been paying taxes on. Mountaineer Midstream claimed that the over taxing was due to a clerical error on behalf of their company and they were seeking back payments. The amount that had been paid was approximately $509,000 over a four-year period.

Prosecuting Attorney Haught explained that ultimately, it is the responsibility of the tax payer to submit the correct information to the county assessor, and since the representatives present had no firsthand knowledge of how the clerical error came to be, or could not pinpoint how the error occurred, then it could be negligence on behalf of the taxpayer. Therefore, the taxpayer would have to present proof that it was not negligence on their part. The hearing ended with the determination by the county commission that both parties would have until Monday, March 12 to submit a proposal of finding of facts. Summit has been removed from any further assessments from the Wetzel County Assessor’s Office.

The next commission meeting will be held on Feb. 27 beginning at 9:30 a.m. located at the commission office on Main Street, New Martinsville.