Government, Latest News, Monongalia County

Commission endorses paving projects utilizing federal COVID-19 money

MORGANTOWN — A letter from the West Virginia Department of Highways outlining about 8.5 miles in paving projects tied to CARES, or Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security, funding got the endorsement of the Monongalia County Commission on Wednesday.

Endorsement, Commission President Ed Hawkins explained, not input.

The list includes eight paving projects, including 146 feet of W.Va. 7 and 207 feet of Opekiska Road.

A 2.2 mile stretch of Bethel Road is also on the list, as is: Brand Road (1.95 miles); Little Falls Road (1.52 miles); Bowlby Road (1.35 miles); Boy Scout Camp Road (.82 miles) and Jakes Run Road (.66 miles).

“Let it be known that this came to us late yesterday. We did participate because there was a deadline, yesterday, to have us approve this. So we did participate and decided to do so. The participation, however, was just an agreement that if we can get $2.5 million more paving projects in Monongalia County, then we would certainly be in agreement,” Hawkins said. “The commission, however, had no input whatsoever in picking any of these projects.”

According to the DOH’s letter, the projects “are critical in the transporting of our residents to nearby medical emergency facilities.”

It was explained that routes and turnaround areas used by school buses were also considered when forming the project list.

In other county news, the commission finalized its 2019 delinquent tax list.

The $5,644,461.07 total makes up about 5.5% of the overall taxes to be collected and is based on $3,642,218.38 in delinquent real estate taxes and $2,002,242.69 in unpaid personal property taxes.

Those numbers are down from $8,301,320.07, which represented 8.3% of the taxes to be collected in 2017, and $6,568,434.24 (6.4%) in 2018.

Chief Tax Deputy Kelly Palmer said she believes the additional month-long grace period resulting from the onset of COVID-19 helped bring that number down.

“We will, however, be able to collect 100% of the real estate when we hold our tax sale,” Palmer said. “For personal property, we average about 77% collection.”

Also, the commission:

  • Approved $1,100 for the purchase of tables for the Stewartstown Community Building
  • Renewed the commission’s contract with Global Science & Technology at $560/month for network support, administration and consulting.

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