A workable solution to distributing the $300,000.00 from a prior Hancock County Animal Shelter levy was discussed by Mike Lucas, legal counsel to the Hancock County Commission. The levy funds were directed to the entity (now known as the Hancock County Humane Society) that previously had the contract for operation of the Shelter. When the Commissioners failed to renew the contract of the group and assumed the operational responsibility itself, it requested an Attorney General’s opinion on where the funds should be directed. The Attorney General’s office ruled the funds were neither the property of the Humane Society nor the Commission, but rather should be returned to the taxpayers of Hancock County.
Returning those funds to each and every taxpayer would prove to be unwieldy, costly and is not feasible according to Lucas.
Lucas proposes to instead file a lawsuit in Circuit Court asking the Judge to issue a declaratory ruling to apply the funds against the current levy at the rate of $100,000.00 per year over a three-year period.
Rudy Rosnick has frequently appeared in front of Commissioners to cite what he termed their lack of action in not returning those funds to the taxpayers. Lucas said a Freedom of Information request had been filed on the issue and the Commission had complied. He said he has been in conversation with the West Virginia Auditor’s Office on a way to resolve the issue and was being proactive in seeking its resolution.
The Commission will hold a special meeting on the issue on July 14 at 9:30 a.m.
A request to contract with an outside agency to seek out and write grants for the County was tabled pending further information on a proposed contract. Edmiston Development Services, seeks a retainer of $14,500.00 payable in three installments and agrees to research funding sources and prepare required documents for 20 grant proposals. The service is listed under Joe Edmiston and is located on Patricia Ave., Weirton with the organizer listed as LegalZoom out of California.
In other business, the Commissioners:
**Agreed to apply for a WV Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority Grant – 19th cycle for work on the Courthouse roof;
**Approved Barry Rosen as a new member of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Reserves;
**Approved a contract with Lauttamus Communication for a microwave tower;
**Hired Nichola Jackson as a part-time animal shelter employee;
**Hired Monica Sprouse as a part-time dispatcher;
**Learned that the WVU Extension Office is working with Energy Express and the Storybook Café’