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Hancock, Brooke team up for broadband service

NEW CUMBERLAND — Hancock County announced a partnership with Brooke County to improve broadband service during last week’s meeting.

Commissioner Joe Barnabei announced the counties received a grant to perform a broadband service study. The counties are working with Magellan Advisors, a specialized consultant to create a plan to develop broadband in the area.

“Not too many people think of it this way, but we do, it’s part of infrastructure — you can take care of water and you can take care of sewers and you can fix roads and that, to get people in and out, but to have those people to stay here we need to have computers, that’s today, that’s what this is all about. This is a major part of infrastructure moving forward into the future,” said Barnabei.

The study involves a survey to test the broadband residents are receiving. The survey is available online and in paper.

“I mainly encourage citizens of interest to fill out these surveys, it’s so important that they receive as many of these back as possible, if you don’t fill out these surveys there is no way you’ll be included in the process of determining whether your area is eligible to receive broadband, so it’s very important you take time to fill it out” said Commissioner Jeff Davis.

Barnabei said there is money available for the project, but the amount the county gets will be determined by public participation. He also said this project will take time, but it is moving forward.

In other action, the commission:

¯ Named Barnabei as commission president and Commissioner Paul Cowey as president pro tempore.

¯ Resident Rudy Rosnick, attended the meeting to ask about excess animal shelter levy money. Rosnick wanted to know if the commission had heard recommendations from the attorney general’s office regarding to misused funds and reimbursing residents the excess. Barnabei thanked Rosnick for voicing his concerns. After the meeting, Assistant Prosecutor Mike Lucas explained the excess is still in its appropriate account, and the money collected was spent on bills accrued during the levy’s collection period. Lucas said the attorney general determined the matter could be left to the county and that the process to reimburse residents was more costly than the reimbursement residents would receive.

¯ Approved 2020 personnel and committee appointments.

¯ Agreed to apply for a W.Va. Department of Agriculture fiscal year 2019-2020 spay/neuter grant.

¯ Announced they no longer need to consider setting up an early voting-in person satellite precinct, but will instead look into ways to prevent earlier voting congestion in the courthouse entrance.

¯ Approved internal budget revisions for fiscal year 2019-2020.

¯ Agreed to advertise for a contractor to upgrade the courthouse elevator.

¯ Approved the animal shelter in-out report of 194 animals in and 163 animals out.

¯ Approved 13 probates and estates.

¯ Approved one exoneration order.

¯ Approved to reimburse Davis for $399 for county commission travel expenses.

¯ Approved the payment of general fund bills of $ 88,838 and $23,485 in pcard payments.

¯ Approved the payment of animal shelter levy, library levy and sheltered workshop levy bills and requisitions.

¯ Bob Vidas, executive director of the office of technology and communications, congratulated commissioners Barnabei and Cowey for their 2020 appointments.

¯ Lucas announced it was law enforcement appreciation day and he thanked Sheriff Ralph Fletcher and other law enforcement agencies for their service. The commissioners also acknowledged the county’s officers and deputies, thanking them for serving and protecting their communities.

¯ Carole Scheerbaum, WVU Extension agent for Hancock County announced her office is starting work on their summer program.

¯ Chuck Wright, clerk of the circuit court, announced grand jury indictments will be today and Tuesday, and docket day for the upcoming court term will be Jan. 23.

The next meeting will be at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 23.

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