(06/05/2002)
The construction of a new EMS ambulance, 911 and Office of Emergency Services building, is looming on the horizon. The current center at Mount Zion does not meet standards, is cramped and in general dis-repair.

The Calhoun Commission will be looking at sites suggested by the organizations, and Del. Bill Stemple, who is also the OES Director, says he has obtained $90,000 for the start of the project.

Commissioner David Barr says he believes additional funds can be obtained to build a first class facility. Barr said the county has been limping along with a sub-standard building for years, not likely to meet fire codes or many basic requirements for an emergency center. The center does have some state-of-the-art equipment.

The Commissioners want to establish a center that would last through this century and adequately serve the county.

The current center has been beset with problems beyond cramped space and the building falling apart. A control box for the emergency generator caught fire Saturday, filling the building with smoke. 911 and EMS employees used a fire extinguisher on the box. Numerous lightning hits have caused problems at the facility.

The Commission discussed the financial implications of a $27,000 bill received from the State Auditor for a special audit requested by the West Virginia Supreme Court. The audit was related to an investigation of former Magistrate Steve Johnson's office.

Commission President Larry McCallister said such unexpected mandates tips the county into financial trouble very quickly, particularly when the item is not budgeted.

All three commissioners contend the bill is inappropriate, since the Commission has no constitutional jurisdiction over the magistrate's court.

The Commission was also required to pay a $7,000 bill for a regular annual audit.

Calhoun Clerk Richard Kirby is continuing to address some serious problems with the summer youth program, which historically has employed a large number of Calhoun kids.

The Commission discussed the possible use of the old Wayne Underwood Field. Commission President Larry McCallister said if the Board of Education gives the land to the Commission for continued recreational use, grants will be written by October for further development of the project.

Problems seem to be continuing with McKenzie Engineering regarding contractuals to implement E-911 in the county. McKenzie advised the Commission by letter the county had not lived up to its part of the contract, stating "I have been asking for three (3) years for the county's approved road name list and route direction."

McKenzie failed to complete the project based on his own time lines two years ago, and then told the Commission he had done everything he was supposed to do. Calhoun Commissioner Bob Weaver has continued to challenge his performance.

McKenzie was asked to provide new time lines, but he failed to do so.

McKenzie now states if he gets some cooperation, Calhoun County mapping and addressing can be finished.

The Commission signed an agreement with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department for continued service.

Other routine business and the paying of bills completed the Monday meeting.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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