Newell Volunteer Fire Department member Mike Nixon returned to the Hancock County Commission March 24 to ask the Clean Air Act be revoked.   Nixon, who said the Newell VFD lost $400,000.00 since the smoking ban was enacted, said SB 12 passed in 2021 gave the County  Commission power to reverse or amend the current smoking ban.   The Clean Air Regulation was passed by the Hancock County Health Board in 2015 and later amended to exempt casinos and limited video lottery facilities.   Bingo games were not included in the exemption and Nixon claims those games should have been exempted.

      “It’s not right someone else can stop us (VFD) from making money,” said Nixon.

      Commissioner Eron Check told Nixon she was familiar with the legislation, but it does not permit Commissioners to act on Board of Health rules which are already in place.  

      “There is nothing before us now,” said Check.

      Senate Bill 12 passed the Legislature March 4, 2021, went into effect June 2, 2021.  The act defines the appointing authority as the County Commission and  states that rules enacted or amended by the local Board of Health must be rejected, approved or amended by the County Commission  within 30 days of passage.    The bill stipulates,  however, that a rule currently in effect is not subject to approval unless amended by the Board of Health.

        Nixon concluded his remarks by asking the Commissioners to ensure that Volunteer Firefighters get the $5,000.00 provided to first responders during the COVID pandemic and to designate a day to honor volunteer firefighters.

In other business, Commissioners:

**Approved the purchase of two new police cruisers.  While the police cruisers will be ordered now, the funds will come out of next years budget;

**Approved a donation of $625 from American Legion Post #45 to assist in paying a driver to transport veterans for medical care;

**Approved funding in the amount of $10,000.00 for the Greater Weirton Senior Center;

**Approved a request of $4,390.00 to pay to the State Auditor’s Office for the audit of  Hancock County Parks & Recreation;

**Made a funding request from the Northern Panhandle Criminal Justice Board a matter of record;

**Agreed to advertise the 2022 Cemetery Notice advising winter decorations must be removed from gravesites;

**Approved the General County Budget for fiscal year 2022/2023;

**Approved a letter of support for the Brooke/Hancock Family Resource Network application of the WV Dept. of Health & Human Resource Support Center’s Grant;

**Hired Ron White as part-time groundskeeper/maintenance;

**Tabled approved of a contract for the website design for the Hancock County Animal Shelter until further details are worked out;

**Gave approval to applying for a Victims of Crime grant;

**Entered into a Memorandum Agreement with the WVU Extension Service and the County Extension Service for FY 22/23;

**Agreed to advertise for a tax deputy