By Bob Weaver

The Calhoun County Commission and other agencies frequently experience problems when they apply for or receive grants to fund projects in the county.

Dick Ullum recently appeared before the commission, saying local contractors or workers can't be hired because of prevailing hourly rates that often exceed $20 an hour.

Prevailing wage rates are set by the West Virginia Division of Labor.

Most hourly rates exceed $20 an hour, with a $20 per hour benefit package.

Those rates are defined in WV Code based on union wages determined in other counties, and are not the prevailing wage paid by contractors in Calhoun County.

Still, local contractors are held to the rate using taxpayer funds.

In Calhoun, with small grants obtained for improvements, it is almost impossible to get someone to do the work because of holding to prevailing wage.

Ullum believes county contractors should come together and create their own prevailing wage.

The rates used for Calhoun are linked to Wood County and other regional counties that generally utilize union work.

The Division of Labor forms must be submitted by October every year, that are used to set prevailing wages.

The Commission has at various times attempted to get prevailing wage rates reduced for the county, but local contractors must participate in the process.

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