By Stephen Smoot
The road to completing the new General Services Building took another turn on its windy path last week with the Harrison County Commission discussing payments for services rendered and other related issues.
Commissioners opened the meeting with a prayer given by Patsy Trecost. He hoped people could live “by Your example, to love one another” and finished by asking that those who traveled to work today “get home safe.”
After the Pledge of Allegiance, the commissioners welcomed participants in the recent Alzheimers’ Walk. David Hinkle, Harrison County Commissioner, said “it’s good to see you all here,” adding that “it’s getting ready to be grant season. When you get ready, let us know.”
Next, during the public comment section, commissioners heard from Valerie Lane. She identified herself as “a newly elected council person for the City of Salem.” Lane explained that she “I’m new to this game” and asked the county commission if she could request any assistance that could help to prevent the city from seeing a water rate increase.
Susan Thomas, Harrison County Commission President, advised that if she provided her contact information to Laura Pysz, Harrison County administrator, she would receive a call by the end of business on Friday.
Commissioners spent the bulk of the meeting discussing issues related to the General Services Building.
Hinkle told the other commissioners that he “had been talking to contractors and architects and set up a weekly meeting” to get all the issues settled. That plan “was agreeable to everyone there.” Those present agreed “to clean up all the issues by the first of December.”
He then reported that “everyone has pretty much moved over. There have been a couple of ribbon cuttings by some of the elected officials in their new area.” Hinkle then said “I invite everyone” to “come and see the workplaces that they have,” not just when they have tax or other business with the county. “I think most of them are happy to be over there,” Hinkle concluded.
He then made a motion to submit a payment of $275,000 to Rycon to cover part of what the county owed. Hinkle later explained that the payment amount came from the original contract, but the county held up payment as “a hold to try and keep them finishing up everything.” That $275,000 comes from a previously established line item put in place to pay for costs of moving and other expenses.
Commissioners also approved a $23,443 change order requested. This represented the 10th such request made for costs incurred over and above the contract.
After working on General Services Building issues, commissioners approved a motion to have a property at the quarry appraised, with the intent of deciding what to do once they received pricing information. They cannot sell other properties held in the area.
The commission then approved the establishment of a fund and bank account to receive money from the State related to the fire protection fund legislation. They also approved the renaming of a fund and bank account created to receive opioid settlement funds from the West Virginia First Foundation.
The change was necessary because Harrison County “was ahead of the game” in creating a fund and account to receive the funds. They changed the name to align with the language created by the State Auditor’s Office.
The meeting closed with Hinkle expressing praise with how those involved conducted the massive move into the new offices of the General Services Building.
He said “I’d like to thank, again, all the elected officials and employees.” Hinkle went on to say “it was a very sizable expense” to build the structure, but not to move over. He shared that the way that employees took initiative saved between 95 and 99 percent of the potential cost to taxpayers. “Everyone got behind the move” and performed it “very well,” Hinkle said.
He also requested the scheduling of a work session on Nov 6 at 3 PM to cover animal control, office space, CSX purchase, and other issues.