By Dianne Weaver|
Economic development was on the mind of Calhoun Commissioners last
night, discussing the possibility of a steel barrel manufacturing company
locating in the county. County Clerk Richard Kirby reported Del. Bill Stemple
has been meeting with state officials to tie the project with Weirton Steel,
who is facing a major problem in closing one of its production lines. "The
drum manufacturing business could help keep it alive," said Kirby.
A meeting with the designer of the unique steel drum is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Friday in Grantsville. The company recently became incorporated in West
Virginia with its operations centered in Calhoun County, and is looking for
investors in the project.
The Calhoun Commission has applied for a $250,000 small cities block grant
to assist with the company, which could bring much needed jobs to Calhoun
County. The former B. F. Goodrich property near Grantsville has been offered
to the company.
911 Director Barry Pitts gave a report on the status of 911 mapping and
addressing for Calhoun County. Pitts and others met Thursday with Doug
McKenzie, owner of McKenzie Engineering of Summersville, to review the
status of the project. McKenzie claims his mapping is up to standards set
forth in his contract.
Calhoun Commissioner David Barr said McKenzie's mapping was "out of
kilter" and appears to present some serious problems in completing the
project. The Commission hired McKenzie to move the county ahead with
E-911. "The maps are just not accurate," said Barr, who is the Commission
member on the 911 Advisory Board.
Commission President Bob Weaver asked for and obtained a unanimous vote
to request Prosecutor Tony Morgan to evaluate the contractual agreement
between the county and McKenzie. Weaver called McKenzie to task earlier
this year because the 911 mapping and addressing project had been lagging.
His time table called for the mapping and addressing to be completed early
in 2000. McKenzie told the Commissioners it was out of his hands, and the
project completion rested with the U. S. Postal system.
Weaver told the Commissioners last night several West Virginia counties
who have dealt with McKenzie are experiencing difficulty, including Wood
County which has paid him over $200,000. He said Wirt County has been
withholding payment to the Summersville businessman because the mapping
has been inaccurate.
Pitts told the Commission he will continue to make a careful assessment of
the validity of the maps prepared by McKenzie and report to the next
meeting. McKenzie's company has completed the installation of the
technical and electronic equipment at the Mt. Zion 911 Center.
The Commission was advised there was no response from the official board
of the Minnora Community Center, after the Commission offered to assist
that group with internal problems which have plagued the organization for
two years. It was noted the MCC Board was yet to have a scheduled
Commissioners have been reluctant to engage themselves in the conflict,
since the center was granted a 99-year lease on the property, which was
given to the county by the local school board. Commissioner Larry
McCallister said "We don't have any legal jurisdiction over the center, but we
would like to see it continue." Commissioner Barr said he has supported the
center from the beginning, and would dislike to see it fail.
The contents of the letter sent to the MCC Board:
July 26, 2001
To Wanda Richards, President of Minnora Community Center
and all members of the Board of Directors:
We, the members of the Calhoun Commission, express to each of you our serious
concerns regarding the continued crisis over the management of the Minnora
Community Center, more particularly what could be the collapse of the center and
the vital services it is providing to southern Calhoun. The conflict, unfortunately, has
continued for over two years.
The Calhoun Commission has given its support and endorsement to several of the
established programs and services, and shares the vision of what the center could
mean to the citizens of the area in the future. The re-establishment of the center
after closure, would be very unlikely.
We, the Commission, are grateful to each of you for your vision in starting the
center, and the hard and difficult work it has taken to maintain its operation.
The Commission has no legal recourse since the property has been leased to your
board for a period of 99 years, but extend to you our willingness to make
recommendations for its continued operation.
If your board votes to "ask the commission for help," we will make one or more
recommendations, solely based on saving the center and would expect your board
to consider such recommendations seriously.
We respectfully request your consideration of this proposal, and would hope to hear
from you shortly, the matter being placed on the agenda.
Bob Weaver, President of the Commission
Larry McCallister, Commissioner
David Barr, Commissioner
Other news from Thursday's Commission meeting will follow.