County Courthouse to Close April 10 For Electrical Work

The Hardy County Commission approved a recommendation to close the courthouse on Friday, April 10 for electrical work. 

The commission met in special session on Thursday, March 12.

“April 10 is Good Friday and we generally have only a skeleton crew on that day,” said County Coordinator Rose Helmick. “It would allow the transfer switches for the generator to be hooked up.”

With the help of a US Department of Agriculture grant, the county purchased a generator that would power the courthouse in the event of an electrical outage. 

Eminent Domain

The commissioners signed a resolution authorizing the Hardy County Parks Board to use eminent domain in their efforts to construct a walking and biking trail from the South Fork Bridge to Brighton Park.

At the March 3 meeting, Park Board Chairman Robert Taylor advised the commission efforts to contact one particular property owner had been unsuccessful.

“We have tried to meet with one owner and got no response,” he said. “We sent a certified letter, which got a response. We made an offer to purchase the property in question, but have gotten no response.”

In voting to approve the resolution, Commissioner David Workman commented. 

“I know the Park Board will proceed with negotiations and exercise a spirit of compromise and cooperation. We know they will use this as a tool, only if necessary.”

“We are all in agreement with that,” Taylor said. “We have tried to get a face-to-face meeting and haven’t been successful.”

Mathias resident John Buckley said he understood the reason behind the resolution, but also expressed hopes for caution.

“Eminent domain has historically been used when there has been a public need,” he said. “I’ve heard, and I agree, this would be a public good. But there is a line between a public need and a public good.”

Planner’s Resignation

The commissioners acknowledged receipt of Planner Melissa Scott’s resignation. 

When asked about the procedure for hiring a new planner, Commission President Harold Michael said, “We haven’t decided yet.”

There is no mandate in state code for the Planner’s position or a Planning Department.

Planning Commission President Lee Lehman requested an in-house budget revision to move funds from the employee salary account to professional services account.

“This is the remainder of Melissa’s salary,” Lehman said. “This is so we can continue working on the zoning ordinance and our Comprehensive Plan.”

“In case we have to hire a consultant,” added Commissioner David “Jay” Falser, the commission’s representative to the Planning Commission.

The commissioners approved the in-house budget revision.

Other Business

•Helmick proposed an application to the USDA for two law enforcement vehicles for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The total cost of the vehicles is $115,000 and the grant would cover $40,250. The county would be responsible for the $74,750 balance. The commissioners approved the application.

•The commissioners voted to approve the changes to the GIS Resolution, adding a representative from the Hardy County Rural Development Authority and allowing the county commission representative voting rights.

•The commissioners approved the updated GIS by-laws.

•The commission approved a separate checking account for 911 tower rentals.

•The commission approved the sale of two antiquated sheriff’s department vehicles – a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria and a 2012 Chevrolet Tahoe. The county will advertise for sealed bids and investigate scrap value. 

•The commissioners approved an order barring objections on the estate of Dorman Elwood Fultz.

•The commission approved receipt of the 2018 Emergency Management Performance Grant in the amount of $42,485. The commission also approved the drawdown of those funds to the Office of Emergency Management.

•The commissioners approved an in-house budget revision to add the new employee in the Commission Office. 

The next meeting of the Hardy County Commission will be held on Tuesday, April 7 beginning at 9 a.m. Anyone wishing to be included on the agenda should contact the County Clerk’s office at 304-530-0250. The public is invited to attend.