By Stephen Smoot
Last week, the Pendleton County Commission tackled a light agenda with little new business, but also a potentially serious concern.
First, the commission examined the request of the Oak Flat Homeowners’ Association to change the name of a road serving the development.
Whispering Pine Drive currently has two exit points on US 33 just east of Oak Flat. The westernmost exit serves the homes in the development and is paved. Whispering Pine also has an eastern exit which is unpaved where it meets US 33.
Problems arise when deliveries or visitors coming from the east turn onto the unpaved exit rather than the paved. Commissioner Carl Hevener noted that a delivery truck “got stuck up there and they couldn’t get him out for three hours.” Since delivery trucks come most often from the direction of Harrisonburg, Virginia, they tend to turn up the unpaved road.
To alleviate the problem, the HOA requested that the final 2/10 of a mile on the unpaved portion be renamed Country Acres Drive. They reported that this would affect no residences and that the property owners along the affected road made verbal agreements supporting the change.
The change would also make 911 responses to the development much easier.
The county commission approved the change.
Commissioners also discussed “a point of real concern,” as County Commission President Gene McConnell described it. The county commission has still received no bids to perform snow removal for key county facilities. The former contractor could not maintain the workforce needed to continue working in Pendleton County and is required to serve Highland County, Virginia, first.
The snow removal job entails shoveling and salting sidewalks at the 911 center, the fire and rescue squad, the health department, library, and other county facilities. Having the bailiff take care of snow outside of the courthouse was mentioned as a “last resort,” but the county currently does not own the proper equipment for him to do the job.
Sheriff Chad Bowers noted that the county could not simply contract with interested individuals. “To work for a county agency,” he said, “you must have a business license.”
Later, Pendleton County Clerk Elise White brought to the county commission’s attention opportunities to obtain grant funding. Additional federal funding for roads and other purposes could come from a source designated for counties with national forest lands. White stated that, if approved, the county could receive two payments of $316,861.
She also said that there were not many restrictions on fund use.
Finally, Laura Brown, executive director of the Pendleton County Economic and Community Development Authority, discussed the candidate forum scheduled at Pendleton County High School, Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. She urged candidates to arrive at 5:30, but said that questions would end at 8 p.m.
Additionally, a teacher will serve as moderator.
Brown also mentioned that a discussion of the proposed school levy would take place with Superintendent Charles Hedrick.
Finally, Brown urged everyone to study the constitutional amendments up for a vote in this years’ election. The EDA will pass out information on the four amendments. It also posted information from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office about them.