Commission approves commitment for courthouse construction loan
The Morgan County Commission approved a letter of commitment for a $9 million loan on Friday for construction of a new courthouse from the State Infrastructure Jobs Development Council.
The commission also had the second reading of an ordinance authorizing the construction and equipping of the new courthouse by the Morgan County Building Commission, which will lease the new facility to the county.
The Building Commission is involved because of the length of time of the loan pay back.
The third reading and vote to approve the ordinance will take place at the Friday, August 8 commission meeting. The commission hopes to close on the loan that day.
Bids for the courthouse construction contract are scheduled to be opened at a special meeting on Friday, August 1 at 2:30 p.m.
Bath ridge annexation
A public hearing was held to discuss the proposed annexation of 7.75 acres of Warm Springs Ridge by the Town of Bath.
The land is located above and to the west of the Berkeley Springs High School football field.
The property was deeded to the town in 1896 by Samuel Whisner.
The handwritten deed cedes the property to the town for the sole purpose and only use as a public park and tower or lookout purposes with the right of a road way on the Side and footway on the East Side of Said Warm Springs Ridge.
No one from the public attended the hearing.
Commissioner Thomas Swaim asked Town Clerk Margie Allgyer for the purpose of annexing the property and if the town was aware of the restrictions in the deed.
Allgyer said the town was annexing the property for future purposes and was aware of the restrictions.
The commission then voted to approve the annexation.
State highway engineer Mark Murphy will appear before the commission on August 22 meeting to talk about possible plans for a toll access road around Berkeley Springs.
The time has not yet been set.
The commissioners interviewed Susan Taylor and Mike McKechnie and appointed them to serve on the board of the Morgan County Solid Waste Authority.
Taylor and McKechnie said they were committed to a permanent solid waste facility in Morgan County and to educating the public on the need for recycling.
The commissioners interviewed Planning Commission members Wayne Omps, Tucker Stinebaugh and Jack Soronen before reappointing them to new terms.
Commissioner Brenda Hutchinson had asked that the three be interviewed before their reappointments.
Hutchinson said there is a procedure in place to bring people in and ask several general questions to see how they feel about the board and if they still want to serve.
Hutchinson said there is a waiting list of people who want to serve on the planning board.
The intention is not to make it uncomfortable for anyone, and it gives us an opportunity to thank you for your contributions, Hutchinson said.
I do have concerns about this procedure, but in the interest of getting along, I will set those aside, Planning Commission president Soronen said.
Hutchinson asked each of them about their areas of expertise, why they felt qualified to serve on the planning board, whether they still want to serve and if they felt they could adhere to current ordinances.
Omps cited his experience in developing and reviewing plans over the years for 17 different subdivisions.
Omps expressed his concern that the interviews were being conducted in public. He felt the interviews should be conducted only before the commissioners.
Stinebaugh said he has worked 25 years in the construction industry.
Tucker has been invaluable to the Planning Commission with his experience with the Fire Department, Soronen said.
Soronen said his 10 years on the board had been a life changing experience.
We try to find out the right thing to do for the community, Soronen said.
My feeling is one of being blessed living in Morgan County. I am talking about the people of Morgan County. They are just wonderful people, Soronen said.
All three said they wanted to continue to serve.
Commissioners Stotler, Swaim and Hutchinson thanked and praised Soronen, Omps and Stinebaugh for their work and the three were reappointed unanimously.