Old bell may come back home
Morgan County Commissioners Stacy Dugan and Brenda Hutchinson took a short trip up the block during their Thursday, September 1 meeting to look at the bell that was salvaged from the bell tower of the old courthouse after the fire.
The bell is currently sitting in a garage behind the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department.
With the commissioners was Larry Wilson, the craftsman who restored the old desk and clock on display in the Morgan County Clerk’s office.
The commissioners are investigating the cost of restoring the bell so it can either be displayed in the courthouse lobby or outside the main entrance.
Wilson suggested sandblasting the bell and powder-coating it for a durable finish. If displayed indoors, the bell would not need to be powdercoated, he said.
Dugan and Hutchinson asked for a price quote for each of the processes.
Two board appointments
At their meeting, the commissioners appointed two people to county boards.
John Rowland was named to the Parks & Recreation Board by a 2-1 vote. Rowland was nominated by Commissioner Brad Close and seconded by Hutchinson.
Dugan had made a motion to nominate Brock Vanorsdale to the board.
Barb Wolfe was appointed to the Board of Health, again by a 2-1 vote. Wolfe was nominated by Hutchinson and seconded by Close. Dugan had nominated Jane McCloud.
Deputy Reserve vehicles
Sheriff Vince Shambaugh and Lieutenant Bill Lewis of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy Reserves discussed the use of the five reserve vehicles.
Hutchinson suggested parking the cars at the rescue squad building when not in use, rather than allowing the reserve deputies to keep the cars at home.
“I don’t let my cars go anywhere until I get a call from the Sheriff or the 911 call center,” Lewis said.
He said all uses of the cars are logged and it would be impractical to have the reserves drive their cars to another location just to pick up a reserve vehicle.
Lewis said they are often called out at two or three in the morning for traffic control at an accident scene or fire.
Shambaugh said this year the reserve deputies have worked 900 hours at 60 funerals, six fire calls, 11 accidents and 26 special events, such as school ball games. They have also transported juveniles multiple times.
Prosecuting Attorney Debra McLaughlin supported Lewis and Shambaugh. She said the reserve deputies are often called upon at the last minute to transport juveniles to and from court.
Hutchinson said she brought up the issue because citizens asked her why the vehicles were being taken home.
“I understand what you are saying and I appreciate everything that you guys do,” she said. “I still feel we would be just as well served if we had vehicles parked at a central location. But it is your decision to make and I leave it to your expert opinion.”
“I have taken that into consideration, but these guys are doing this for me for free. I can’t have them driving their own cars to get a car,” Shambaugh said.
Voting machine maintenance
A decision on purchasing a maintenance contract for repair of the county’s 75 voting machines was tabled until the commissioners’ September 15 meeting.
Chief Deputy County Clerk Cathy Payne said a two-year contract will cost $2,000 per year and a four-year contract $5,100. The four-year contract will only be offered if all counties in the state participate.
Without a contract, the charge for each service call is $2,320. The voting machines were purchased in 2006 and only one company, Election Systems Software in Omaha, Nebraska, still supports the machines, Payne said.
With an election coming up on October 4, a decision is needed soon.
The state had been paying for maintenance on all voting machines but dropped the coverage this fiscal year.
“This is just another unfunded mandate,” Close said. He felt the cost of the contract was too high and said he would contact the maintenance company before the next meeting.
Charlene Gilliam, representing Potomac Edison and FirstEnergy, introduced herself to the commissioners and talked about the merger between FirstEnergy and Allegheny Power and the name change from Allegheny Power to Potomac Edison.
Because of complaints of power surges in the courthouse that have taken out some electronic equipment, Gilliam said Potomac Edison is installing a voltage monitor on the power line input to the courthouse.
She said the monitor will be there for a minimum of two weeks to determine if there is a problem.
Circuit Court Clerk Kim Jackson asked for and received approval to fill two open and budgeted positions in her office.
Jackson said she received 56 job applications for the two positions and interviewed 29 people.
Grant Assistant Carol York asked the commissioners to approve a resolution for County Planner Alma Gorse to administer a $10,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay grant program to pay for a county review of the comprehensive plan and current ordinances to ensure they comply with the Chesapeake Bay Initiative.
The commissioners approved the resolution.
The commissioners also approved and signed an agreement with the Morgan County School Board about funding the Prevention Resource Officer (Deputy Kevin Barney) for Berkeley Springs High School.