Dugan elected commission prez
Stacy Dugan was elected president of the Morgan County Commissioners when they held their organizational meeting for 2011 on Monday morning, January 3.
Bradley J. “Brad” Close was sworn in as the new member of the commission by County Clerk Debra Kesecker, herself re-elected in November.
Close’s first action as a commissioner was to nominate Dugan for president. No other nominations were made and Dugan was elected unanimously.
Before the vote, outgoing commission president Brenda Hutchinson said, “I think looking at the past two years we have done very well.”
She listed some of the accomplishments. They included balancing the county budget, lowering the levy rate on property taxes, saving money by using a state purchase card, selling War Memorial Hospital and leasing
the hospital buildings to Valley Health while the new hospital is being constructed.
“In economic times that have been trying at best, we have not had to lay off any of our employees,” Hutchinson said.
She expected the new hospital will bring jobs to the county and said the commission is working to get funding for a road from U.S. 522 to the site.
Hutchinson said the commissioners are also working to get funding for a new senior center and health department on a five-acre site near the hospital that the county has a 99-year lease on.
“One of the things that was a difficult decision we all had to make, was making the economic development director a fulltime position and bringing on a new county administrator,” Hutchinson said.
She felt that decision proved to be “the right thing to do.”
New meeting schedule
After some discussion and disagreement, commissioners voted 2–1 to meet at 9:30 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month instead of weekly meetings.
Commissioners Dugan and Close supported the new meeting schedule, which was opposed by Hutchinson who felt they should continue to meet weekly.
Hutchinson convinced the other commissioners to agree to drop 3:30 p.m. meetings. She said that with only two meetings a month, they might end up lasting most of the day.
A meeting with the courthouse architects was set for today -- Wednesday, January 5 -- to discuss problems with the building.
The first full commission meeting of the year will be this Thursday, January 6.
Board of Equalization
A schedule was set for next month’s Board of Equalization sessions, at which property owners can question their assessments.
Those meetings were set for Tuesday, February 1 at 9:30 a.m., Thursday, February 3 at 5 p.m., Tuesday, February 8 at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday, February 17 at 5 p.m.
Commissioners then agreed on their committee assignments for the year.
The most notable change was the appointment of Hutchinson to the Morgan County Planning Commission.
Close, who served on the planning commission for the past six years as a citizen, will take Hutchinson’s place on the County Parks & Recreation Board.
To avoid a possible conflict of interest, Close won’t start serving on the Parks & Recreation Board until March because his accounting firm currently handles the books for Parks & Recreation and needs to finish out last year’s accounts.
Close will also serve on the 911 Advisory Board, Work Force Investment Board, Morgan County Emergency Services Council and the Wage & Review Board.
Hutchinson will also serve on the Morgan County Economic Development Authority Board, Farmland Preservation Board, Senior Life Board, Morgan County Fair Board, Morgan County Planning Commission, Eastern Panhandle Transportation Authority and the Morgan County Partnership board.
Dugan will represent the commissioners on the Chamber of Commerce, Region 9 Planning & Development Council, Morgan County Fire Board, Local Emergency Planning Commission, County Extension Service Committee and Community Criminal Justice Board.