Monongalia County is in the red. COVID-19 numbers continue to climb. Schools have gone online and sports, outside of WVU, have been sidelined.
People are frustrated.
In response, members of the Monongalia County Commission are asking the community for patience and civility.
“Please don’t jump to conclusions. I’m a little concerned with the civility of what’s going on in our county. Please, we need to work together,” Commissioner Tom Bloom said, explaining that while the commission works with WVU, the city of Morgantown and the board of education, it has no authority to direct their activities.
Commissioner Sean Sikora asked, specifically, for patience with the county schools, which began classes remotely last week due to the county’s COVID-19 status.
“There are a lot of frayed tensions in the community. Tensions that are inter-family, inter-neighborhood, inter-city, inter-county. I ask for a little bit of patience for the school board. Nobody has ever dealt with working through a pandemic like this before,” Sikora said. “They are working hard to address the issues that are out there, and I’m not going to lie, there are issues out there.”
One of those issues in parts of the county is internet access.
Commission President Ed Hawkins said the commission is reaching out to federal lawmakers to discuss broadband expansion.
“We deserve to have much better than what we have,” he said.
In other county news, just under $2 million in CARES Act reimbursements have been requested, according to Grant Coordinator Collene Coon.
“The biggest part of that is for the sheriff’s department and MECCA, for their salaries. They’re reimbursing for all pay back to March 15,” Coon said, noting the funds will also be used to reimburse expenses tied to protective gear and sanitation supplies.
This is the first CARES reimbursement request from the county.
The commissioners said they purposely held off until they clearly understood exactly what could be reimbursed. For example, Bloom said, it was initially explained that CARES funds couldn’t be used to cover salaries.
“We believe that some of the places are going to have the federal government come back and say, ‘You’ve got to reimburse that,’ ” Bloom said. “We went back and waited to get clarification.”
The Monongalia County Assessor’s Office will set up on the courthouse square from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Sept. 18, 25 and Oct. 1.
Also, the assessor’s office will conduct drive-up satellite sessions on Sept. 15 at Mason-Dixon Park (10 a.m.-4 p.m.); Sept. 16 at Marilla Park (10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.); Sept. 17 at Chestnut Ridge Church (10 a.m.-4 p.m.); Sept. 22 at Krepps Park (10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.); Sept. 23 at Morgantown Mall (1`0 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.); Sept. 24 at Morgantown Ice Arena (10 a.m.- 4;30 p.m.).