Swaim questions when zoning might take effect
Morgan County Commissioner Tommy Swaim voiced concern about a discrepancy between state code and the proposed county zoning ordinance at the Thursday, October 21 commission meeting.
The last page, or signature page, of the ordinance states the ordinance will be effective (if passed on November 2) on July 1, 2011.
But the State Code reads: “The zoning ordinance is adopted if it is approved by a majority of the voters and is effective on the date the results of an election are declared.”
Swaim contended the county does not have the budget to enforce the
zoning ordinance this fiscal year and sees this as a major problem.
Commission President Brenda Hutchinson disagreed with Swaim’s assertion it would be a major problem and said she would seek the advice of an attorney.
She said that if the ordinance had to go into effect immediately and zoning issues arose before July 1, the county planning office would handle them.
The proposed zoning ordinance was reviewed by the county’s attorney, Richard Gay, before being put on the ballot.
Hutchinson presented a list of items to put forth at the regional legislative summit to be held at The Woods on Tuesday, November 30.
The list includes keeping the homestead exemption for senior citizens, creating a statewide spay and neutering program to address the issue of stray cats, and eliminating the requirement that county projects going out for bid must be advertised in a Charleston newspaper.
Those advertisements cost between $1,200 - $1,500 and don’t produce any competitive bids, she said.
Another item Hutchinson wants brought forth at the summit is the reduction of the percentage of people necessary on a petition to force a referendum on a zoning amendment from the current 10% to 5%.
Hutchinson asked the other commissioners to come up with additional items for the summit.
County Planner Alma Gorse said she has been asked by Town of Bath to review their applications for floodplain building permits.
Gorse said she already reviews applications and has an inter-government agreement with Paw Paw. She said she would require a similar agreement with Bath and have the town adopt a similar ordinance to the county’s floodplain ordinance.
Gorse said Prosecuting Attorney Debra McLaughlin is reviewing the inter-government agreement.
Hutchinson wanted any engineering costs associated with reviewing applications to be billed directly to the town. Gorse said she would check with the county’s engineer.
Gorse plans to meet with town officials on November 9.
Grant Administrator Carol York said she is ready to submit an application for an Historical Records Management & Preservation grant.
The grant would provide funds for records preservation and shelving for the circuit clerk’s, assessor’s and county clerk’s offices.
York also presented the commissioners with a resolution for a letter of intent to apply for a West Virginia Department of Transportation Recreational Trails Program grant.
The grant would be used for a walking trail around the U.S. 522 ballfields. The commissioners signed the resolution.
Jody McClintock reported she is collecting quotes for maintenance agreements on the fire systems, sprinkler systems, elevators and HVAC systems in the courthouse.
Ann Harkins was reappointed to the board of directors of the Coolfont Community Enhancement District.
Steven Wright of ING briefed the commissioners on a West Virginia 457 Retirement Plan. Currently 19 county employees are covered by a private ING retirement plan and Wright is offering to switch those employees over to the state plan.
Wright said one benefit would be cheaper fees. He also wants to market the plan to other county employees.
The commissioners agreed to discuss the issue with the participating employees and asked Wright to be available to come back and speak to employees.