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Hancock Commission Adjusts County Parks Board Funding | News, Sports, Jobs

IN SESSION – The Hancock County Commission met in regular session Thursday, meeting in the courtroom of the Hancock County Courthouse. Pictured, left to right, are Hancock Commissioners Jeff Davis, Paul Cowey and Eron Chek, and Deputy Chief Registrar Valerie Truax. — Criag Howell

NEW CUMBERLAND — After several weeks of discussions, the Hancock County Commission has agreed to cut its annual funding allocation to Hancock County Parks and Recreation, although not as large as originally proposed.

During Thursday’s meeting, Commissioner Jeff Davis proposed removing the item from the table and then adjusting the funding to $26,000 per year. The commission previously provided the park board with $48,000 a year.

Davis explained that the move comes after the park board decided to no longer maintain grass at its Gas Valley Road facility.

“The council decided not to deal with the grounds themselves,” Davis said, noting that the plan would involve the commission picking up the costs through hiring a part-time position.

He said the rental is estimated at $22,000.

Commissioner Eron Chek explained that the adjusted funding should cover the costs of an administrative post and utilities.

The commission originally considered reducing its stipend to $14,400 per year.

The commission elected to place on file two pieces of correspondence related to county volunteer firefighters.

The first letter, from Tim Steele, Chief of the Newell Volunteer Fire Department, requested financial support from the commission to help purchase a lift/ladder truck. According to Steele, the department made a similar request in August 2021, with no funding decision made.

Steele, in his capacity as president of the United Hancock County Firefighters Association, also asked the commission to consider increasing its funding for county fire departments from $44,000 per year to $60,000 per year, using a four-year plan of incremental increases.

“The request for increased funding comes as departments experience price increases in all aspects of running their respective departments,” according to Steele’s letter to the commission.

A request from the Brooke County Committee on Aging, for $25,000, was approved by the commission, with Chek noting that about 49% of participants in the organization’s nutrition program live in Hancock County.

In other cases, the Hancock County Commission:

Approved a proclamation in support of National Police Week

Agreed to send a previously approved resolution in support of keeping the Workforce WV office in Weirton open to state officials

Discussed the county’s spring cleaning, which is being held today and Saturday at the Wells Building in Newell

Acceptance of contract with Horizon to provide internet and telephone services to county facilities, with projected savings of between $20,000 and $30,000

Agreed to apply for a Justice Assistance Grant in support of the County Prevention Resource Officer Program for the 2022-23 fiscal year

Approved several staff items, including a new Tax Assistant for the Sheriff’s Department, an Assistant Clerk for the County Clerk’s Office, a part-time Animal Care Technician at the Hancock County Animal Shelter, and an intern Summer for the WVU Extension Office.

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