Decisions put offl’til new commissioner
The Morgan County Commissioners have said all year that they would review mid-term funding requests in December, but Commissioner Tommy Swaim suggested such decisions should be put off until Commissioner-elect Brad Close takes office in January.
“I don’t feel like I should be part of planning the next six months of fiscal responsibility when Brad is going to have to manage it,” Swaim said when the commissioners met on Thursday, December 2.
Commissioners Brenda Hutchinson and Stacy Dugan agreed and decided to set the budget review for January 3, the first commission meeting of 2011.
During last week’s meeting, several organizations made requests for funding, including Sheriff Vince Shambaugh, the Berkeley Springs Farmers Market and the Morgan County Humane Society.
Sheriff Shambaugh asked the commissioners to look at buying several new patrol vehicles for his department.
Swaim suggested that the commission buy two vehicles and have the sheriff start a scheduled rotation process for replacing older ones. He said the money might come from the interest earned on the county’s $200,000 “Rainy Day Fund.”
Chief Deputy Tony Link reported the department has two vehicles
with over 133,000 miles, one with 98,000 miles and another with 81,000 miles.
Shambaugh said he needs a patrol car and a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Hutchinson asked Shambaugh to put together fleet maintenance costs, a vehicle mileage list and obtain quotes for two new vehicles to present at the budget review meeting in January.
Farmers Market request
Larry Lower and Denis Scott gave a slide presentation as their annual report on the Farmers Market.
Lower said the market benefits the community by supporting agriculture and the local economy and by providing locally grown fresh produce. The market donates leftover food to local food kitchens, he said.
The market provides direct marketing opportunities for members to supply food to local restaurants, retail establishments and institutions, he said.
The market also provides workshops and conferences for members and representation in state and national organizations.
Lower said their longterm goals are to double the number of local producers by 2015 and increase food grown locally by 30%.
He said the market estimates expenses of $7,200 in 2011 and asked the commission for $2,500. The Bath Town Council has agreed to provide $2,500 next year, he said.
He explained that the Farmers Market is reorganizing as a corporate entity called the Morgan County Association for Food & Farms. The group will have a board of directors of five to nine people.
“Is it in your long range plan for this thing to become self-sufficient?” Swaim asked.
“Ideally that’s always been our goal,” Lower said. “We are trying to look at the next 10 years and say ‘How do we get there?’”
Humane Society asks $10,000 Humane Society President Pam Farnham said she was grateful for the $5,000 commissioners gave the group in July. The money was used to spay or neuter 110 stray cats in the county.
Farnham said there is a waiting list of 35 people who have stray cats or litters of stray kittens that need to be spayed or neutered. She said the average cost of the procedure is $46.
She asked commissioners for $10,000 to continue the program,
Hutchinson said the county will take up the issue of strays with legislators at the Eastern Panhandle legislative summit this month.
“We have spoken with our legislators about the possibility of creating some sort of statewide funding through an increase in dog fees,” Hutchinson said.
Farnham said a fundraiser is being held today (Wednesday, December 8) at the Warm Springs Café. The group will get a percentage of both profits and tips from the restaurant.