CLARKSBURG, Va. (WV News) – Residents of Harrison County will vote on a vital services tax of $ 4.7 million per year, which includes a reduction of nearly $ 80,000 over five years for the Department of county health against the current five-year tax, following the Harrison County Commission Approval of the Special Levy Election Notice.
The levy that the commissioners pass on to voters also includes $ 700,000 in a new category called “Harrison County Improvement Opportunity” which could be used for “Demolition of property managed or operated by the Harrison County Commission” and ” Capital improvements or modifications to Parks and Recreational Facilities / Trails located in Harrison County.
Wednesday’s vital services tax vote was approved 2 to 1 by the committee, with Commissioner David Hinkle opposed. Hinkle had argued for a lower levy rate with annual increases, without the inclusion of the Improvement Fund.
If approved by voters on January 22, the levy approved on Wednesday would increase the maximum levy on taxable property by about $ 224,000 per year, from $ 4.51 million for the current fiscal year to 4 , $ 74 million.
Unlike the current Vital Services Tax, which expires June 30, the commission approved tax would remain at a flat rate for each of the five years. The current levy included increases of around 5% each year.
Harrison-Clarksburg Department of Health’s Vital Services Tax funding cap would drop from $ 184,568 in current fiscal year to $ 151,844 next year, a decrease of 17.7% . The new funding ceiling corresponds to that of the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the first year of the current tax on vital services.
When asked if the cut could have come from an administrative error, county administrator Laura Pysz said she didn’t believe it because it was the one the commission “considered and voted on” .
Commissioner Patsy Trecost did not respond to a voicemail requesting comment on the cut on Wednesday. Commission chairperson Susan Thomas said she did not have the levy document in front of her and should review it before commenting.
Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department executive director Chad Bundy told WV News he would need more time to review the commission-approved levy before commenting on the impacts of any potential reduction.
The commissioners unanimously agreed to reduce the United Summit Center from the tax as it has been absorbed by WVU Medicine since the last tax election.
Harrison County Parks and Recreation, which will no longer be considered a county department and instead operate under the direction of the Parks and Recreation Board, will receive an 18.2% reduction for a total of $ 900,000 per year.
Despite these cuts, the majority of external agencies that currently receive vital services tax funds would get an increase in the new tax. Compared to the current fiscal year, the Harrison County Senior Citizens Center and its satellites would benefit from a 10.5% increase for a total of $ 259,603 per year; the Harrison County Ambulance Authority would receive a 4.3% increase for a total of $ 700,000 per year; and Bi-County Nutrition, Health Access and the Susan Dew Hoff Memorial Clinic will each receive a 16.8% increase for a total of $ 71,000 each per year.
The Harrison County Child Advocacy Center would for the first time receive funding under the new levy, to the tune of $ 30,000 per year.
Harrison County Commission services receiving tax funds include courthouse security, which would receive a 6.2% increase next year to $ 425,763; Animal Control, which would receive a 13.8% increase to $ 500,000; and E-911 and emergency services, which would benefit from a decrease of 29.6% to $ 855,735.
The January 22 special tax election will also include the public transport tax, which funds CENTRA and was previously approved by the committee. Thomas said she believed the commission would have time to get a new proposal before voters in the May primary if any of the levies were not passed in January, but was awaiting confirmation from the secretary’s office of state.
Commissioners voted not to go ahead with a fire services tax at this time.
In other cases, the committee:
– Award of tenders for the paving of railway trails for the Shinnston and Salem railway trail projects. Both have been awarded to Blue Gold Development. The company bid $ 168,552 for the paving of 7,880 feet of trail on the Shinnston segment and $ 196,182 for the paving of 10,500 feet of trail on the Salem segment.
According to the call for tenders, an 8 foot wide trail will be “paved with additional culverts and ditches under construction as well as other works (sic) indicated in the contract”.
The other bidders for the Salem section were Naternicolas Masonry at $ 217,650, Green River Group at $ 219,209, Kelly Paving at $ 249,499, Anderson Excavating at $ 250,600, Wolfe’s Excavating at $ 252,775, Bear Contracting at $ 255,799 and Cove Run Contracting at $ 360,000.
Other bidders for the Shinnston segment were Green River Group at $ 212,431, Monco Constructors at $ 266,700, Wolfe’s Excavating at $ 303,250, Bear Contracting at $ 322,423 and Stone Paving at $ 343,315.
The offer was awarded on a 2: 1 vote, with Hinkle opposed, citing failure to adhere to the appropriate offer protocols.
According to Hinkle, the county’s purchasing policy requires that the request for proposals be posted on the county’s website.
According to Pysz, the bidding process and the opening of the sealed bids were handled by The Thrasher Group.
While most openings for tenders have traditionally been held at regular Harrison County Commission meetings, the opening for tenders for the paving project was opened in a public meeting on September 9. The opening of tenders was announced with the request for proposals published in The Exponent. Telegram’s legal publicity section twice in August, but was not posted on the county’s website.
– Payroll change notices approved, including the resignation of Robert Matheny II, whom the commission recently voted to promote to the post of Chief of Courthouse Security. According to the pay change notice, Matheny will be paid retroactively for time spent as courthouse security chief since July 10, with the commission voting last week to retroactively approve his promotion.
The commissioners also voted to promote Pegi Bailey to the post of director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Office.
– Opening of sealed tenders for a designated engineer for the county railroad. Only Thrasher Group submitted a proposal. The proposal will be reviewed by a panel including Pysz, Director of Planning Charlotte Shaffer and Floodplain Manager and Permitting Officer Danny Hamrick.
– Voted not to renew the Board Docs meeting software. The county spent $ 18,000 on the software, according to Pysz, but never used it.
Editor-in-Chief JoAnn Snoderly can be reached at 304-626-1445, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @JoAnnSnoderly.