Commissioners approve loan for waste authority

WELLSBURG — In an effort to ensure the future of the county’s recycling program, the Brooke County Commission will provide a loan to the county’s solid waste authority.

On Tuesday the commissioners agreed to lend $25,383 to the board for two state grants it must repay because the money was used to pay expenses for which it wasn’t awarded.

Commission President Tim Ennis said a formal agreement between the volunteer board and the commission calls for the loan to be repaid in five years.

He said the amount will come from the county’s coal severance fund, and it’s likely the solid waste board will repay it from its portion of tipping fees from the Brooke County Landfill.

Commissioner Jim Andreozzi said while use of the grant money was not appropriate, there was no criminal activity involved.

“I want to make that clear. there was nothing done criminally,” he said.

Members of the solid waste board said earlier that unbeknown to the group, a former staff member used the money to pay general office expenses and failed to submit an application for a grant to continue the recycling program.

Ennis said repaying the grant money will allow the board to apply for an emergency grant available for up to $20,000 to continue the recycling program.

For many years the board has depended on grants from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and state Solid Waste Management Board for the collection of recyclable materials at bins kept at several sites throughout the county.

Last week, the board and commission announced that because of financial problems, the bins would be relocated to an area along state Route 2 near the solid waste board’s recycling center south of Beech Bottom.

Brooke County SWA officials said plastics won’t be accepted because there’s not a market for them among recycling companies, but paper, cardboard, tin and aluminum cans may be deposited in the bins.

Ennis said the commission has heard from residents with a strong interest in the program continuing, and state officials involved with it have offered helpful advice in pursuing that.

The commission also heard concerns from residents about the condition of area roads.

Paul “Bud” Billiard said a dip between state Route 2 and Short Creek Road often is filled with water that becomes slick in winter and other times of the year.

And, Anthony “Butch” Rotellini said a slip has resulted in an area of Rockdale Road being reduced to one lane that presents a hazard to drivers navigating a sharp bend. He noted the road often is used as part of a posted detour when state Route 2 is closed.

Ennis said the condition of St. John’s Road also is a concern and the commissioners plan to speak to state highway officials about local roads during an upcoming visit to Charleston.

The commission also reappointed Julie Barnhart, Billiard and Ken Fletcher to the Brooke Hills Park board. Commissioner Stacey Wise said she hopes three others who sought appointment to the board aren’t discouraged, but after considering all of the applicants, the commission decided to keep three current members who have been active on the board.

The commission also is accepting letters of interest in two seats on the Brooke County Museum board, which may be submitted through County Clerk Sylvia Benzo at the courthouse.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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