Latest News, Monongalia County

Commission approves district changes, terms of Harmony Grove TIF

MORGANTOWN — With a unanimous vote Wedensday, the Monongalia County Commission finalized two minor changes to the county’s magisterial districts.

Now the real work begins.

Actually, County Clerk Carye Blaney explained, the complex work of reconfiguring the county’s voting precincts has been ongoing for the past month or so.  

“Unfortunately, those precinct changes are not going to be as easy as our magisterial changes,” she said.

Trying to balance municipal boundary lines and the redrawn House of Delegate district lines and Senate district lines has resulted in what Blaney characterized as “some splintering” of precincts because “you cannot have more than one House and Senate district composed in a precinct.”

“We’re running into areas, especially around some municipalities that did not have their census maps up to date, and the legislature did not use the most current information,” she said.

Based on the schedule presented Wednesday, the clerk’s office intends to have proposed changes ready for public review by Dec. 15 and up for commission approval on Jan. 19, just ahead of the Jan. 22 deadline.

“That’s our goal,” Blaney said. “Fingers crossed.”

In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, the commission approved a term sheet for the issuance of TIF bonds in an amount not to exceed $21.5 million for infrastructure and improvements to the Harmony Grove TIF district.

The TIF serves the expansion of the Morgantown Industrial Park, including the creation of a new Harmony Grove interchange, which would allow direct interstate access to the park.

Glenn Adrian, co-owner of Enrout Properties, said work is underway to extend road access within the park and expand utilities using funds from the park’s original TIF district, which was created in 2008 and later extended from 25 years to the 30-year maximum.

Much of the initial work, he said, is focusing on the future site of the 210,000-square-foot Mountaintop Beverage facility.

“The road is being paved this week, up to the site. But they’re actually pouring footers for the project this week, for the tanks and the stairwells,” Adrian said. “About a third of the site is at grade. There’s still a considerable amount of dirt and rock that needs to be moved.”

A state-mandated report on the county’s TIF districts indicated the beverage facility would be complete in the fourth quarter of 2022 and create 75-100 jobs.