PINEVILLE – Senate Bill 289 will have a devastating impact on 911 agencies across the state, Dean Meadows, Wyoming County Emergency Services director, told county commissioners during their meeting Wednesday.
“We’re very concerned about Bill 289,” Meadows said.
“It’s a very deceptive bill.”
The bill will cut 911 funding by 11 percent, he said.
A 2004 bill provided funding, from a wireless customer fee, that allowed every county to be served by enhanced 911 coverage.
While Wyoming County has taken care of its 911 funding, Senate Bill 289 could put other counties in the red, Meadows said.
He said representatives of counties around the state have spent time talking with senators to explain the problems with the bill.
Meadows said he fears most senators do not understand how deceptive the bill is and that newspaper accounts have spurred a lot of misinformation.
No one seems to know the purpose of the bill, which is supported by Gov. Jim Justice, he said.
He encouraged the commissioners to talk with various representatives and statewide groups about opposing the bill.
“It’s just a very deceptive bill,” he emphasized.
“It will be a big blow to us.”
In other business, Oliver Stewart, representing the county Solid Waste Authority, said the agency needs a meeting place.
The building, located behind the jail, where the authority members were meeting is in bad shape, he said.
Commissioners said the members could meet in any empty county conference room.
Jason Mullins, commission president, also asked Stewart about the Abandoned Building Agency.
Mullins said it is important for the agency to continue due to the abandoned properties around the county.
“(The agency) carries a little bit of weight,” Mullins said.
Stewart said the agency will notify property owners with letters, sometimes even go to talk to the owners about properties that have become health hazards and eyesores.
At times, Stewart noted, the county agency has initiated the process to have properties condemned in order to clean up the sites.
Additionally, the commission discussed the status of several ongoing water projects around the county.
Adding customers in Herndon and Garwood to the Bud-Alpoca water project is moving forward, according to Eric Combs, of Region 1 Planning and Development Council.
He said the Herndon project will add approximately 30 customers and Garwood will add about 40.
The Barkers Ridge project is now under construction, Combs noted.
Commissioners are also joining a regional project to bring broadband to the seven-county area. That project is also moving forward, Combs said.
Also, Mike Goode, the commission’s county administrator, said he is working to reignite the Hanover and Coal Mountain water projects.
Hanover will come under the Mingo County PSD, while Coal Mountain would be served by the Logan PSD.
The Mingo County PSD already provides water to Justice, Combs noted, and buys its water from Gilbert.
Thus moving the projects forward would have to include agreements with all the entities, Combs said.
Also, commissioners decided to “go back to square one” concerning the purchase of machine that cuts tires into four pieces. Instead commissioners will look at a machine that shreds tires.
In December, commissioners agreed to buy the tire-cutting machine at a cost of nearly $12,000.
The county has about 1,000 tires now in storage.
Due to contract disputes, the state is no longer picking up tires or providing reimbursements for free tire disposal programs.
If the tires are cut into pieces, however, they can be added to regular garbage.
If stored, the tires have to be kept under cover to keep water from collecting inside them, which poses a health threat.
All the available storage for the tires is now full.
To have all the tires picked up and hauled away would cost more than the machine, according to officials.
Residents are charged a “nominal fee” for disposing of tires at the county “landfill” on Airport Road. Cost is $3.25 each for small tires up to $14 each for the biggest tires.
Goode said that the shredded tire material can now be purchased at hardware stores and used for mulch, so the county may be able to find a buyer for the shredded product.