(03/18/2001)
Calhoun's three county commissioners Larry McCallister, David Barr and Bob Weaver met Friday with B. Fred Hill, a district field representative for Congresswoman Shelly Moore Captio. Ms. Captio was scheduled for the meeting a few weeks ago, but her auto slid into a ditch on slippery Route 5.

Hill asked the Commissioners for a list of concerns for the county.

Some of the issues presented:

Unfunded mandates from Charleston, the financial destruction of rural counties.

The struggle to pay the regional jail bill. Calhoun has always made an effort, but larger counties like Kanawha do not pay their assessment in a timely manner, keeping the moneys in interest bearing accounts.

The poor and unsafe condition of access roads out of the county, making it difficult for local residents to drive to their jobs, or hindering small companies or businesses from locating in the county.

The failure of the Appalachian Regional Commission to assist the poorest of the poor Appalachian counties over the past 35 years, which was their original mission. Infrastructure was funded primarily in developed areas that had more immediate potential, according to the ARC. The inability of rural counties whose standards are below the poverty level, twenty-six counties in West Virginia, to come up with matching money (25%) for projects.

The ARC says they may begin to favor these poor counties by adjusting their formula. Commissioner McCallister said the lack of matching money will still deny funding in most cases. "I just can't understand why our government spends billions in developing infrastructure in foreign countries and denies such assistance here," said Commissioner Barr.

There was talk about the need to obtain a shell building as an incentive for small companies to locate in Calhoun and the problem of finding enough flat land for commercial use.

Concerns were expressed regarding the need to maintain health care in Calhoun, referring to Minnie Hamilton Health Care. The center and the county school system are the largest employers. Those concerns have arisen because of proposed budget cuts to implement President Bush's tax breaks.

Hill said Congresswoman Capito will be returning to Calhoun to hear the concerns of residents in a public meeting.


Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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