Government, News

Preston pushing for state transportation secretary to tour roads

Preston County Clerk Linda Huggins swears Dave Price in as president of the Preston County Commission for 2019.

KINGWOOD — New year, old topic.
That was the feeling at Wednesday’s Preston County Commission meeting, as Commissioners Dave Price, Don Smith and Samantha Stone discussed the state Division of Highways (DOH)
Last year, commissioners asked State Transportation Secretary Tom Smith to tour roads in Preston. Smith’s office has so far not set a date for a tour or even a conference call. Jennings referred to it as a, “brush off.”
Commissioner Smith suggested County Administrator Kathy Mace ask the secretary’s assistant when he is available. “Because if we throw a date out there, he’s going to say, ‘Oh, I’ve got this going on or that going on.’”
Commissioners plan to try and meet with the secretary when they are in Charleston Jan. 22 for Preston and Monongalia Day at the Legislature. “But at the same time, we really do need him to come up here,” Commissioner Smith said.
“It’s very important, I think, that we do not allow him to feel like he has done his part if we meet with him on the 22nd of January in Charleston, because he needs to be here,” Stone said.
Smith agreed. “The closest he’s got, to my knowledge, is Clarksburg.” He added that, “I think he needs to come to every county in District 4, not just Preston County … He needs to make a trip around the whole district to see what all of us are talking about, because every county has these issues going on.”
Secretary Smith needs to be driven by people who know roads in each county and can show him the problems, not just drive along Interstate 68, Don Smith said.
District 4 includes  Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties.
Price said the matter will be  discussed at the North Central Caucus on Roads meeting today in Morgantown.
New  president
Price was elected  president of the commission for the coming year, replacing former Commissioner Craig Jennings. Price was the only nominee and was elected on a 3-0 vote. However, Stone, who nominated Price,  said she would like to elect a different president each year.
In other housekeeping items for new year, commissioners set regular meetings for 9:30 a.m. Monday with the exception of the first meeting of each month, which will be at 6:30 p.m. If Monday is a holiday, the meeting will be on Tuesday.
Stone said invitations should be sent to community officials before each meeting. “It’s important that we start getting these people to attend the meetings,” she said, whether they have an issue or not. Mace said she can include them in the email notifications of meetings.
Hours of operation at the courthouse will remain 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Courthouse Annex hours will be 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.
Committee appointments were also doled out. Price will serve on the 911 Advisory Committee, Local Emergency Planning Committee, Wage and Benefits Board, Preston County Crime Commission, FEMA Board and Preston County Cleanup Committee.
Smith will serve on the Preston County Solid Waste Authority, Region VI Planning and Development Council, County Community Corrections Board of Directors and the Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau board.
Stone was appointed to the boards of the Preston County Economic Development Authority, Farmland Protection, WorkForce West Virginia, Robin’s Nest  and Habitat for Humanity.