Commissioners encourage Suddenlink comments

BUCKHANNON — During their regular meeting Thursday morning, the Upshur County Commission scheduled three readings and a public hearing regarding the renewal of their cable franchise agreement with Cequel III Communications II, LLC, a Delaware company doing business as Suddenlink Communications, excluding the municipality of Buckhannon. 

The purpose of this franchise agreement is to “operate and maintain a cable system in Upshur County; and setting forth conditions accompanying the grant of franchise; superseding all previous franchise ordinances for the County Commission of Upshur County.”  The agreement is not exclusive to other cable companies who may want to operate in the county. 

All readings, as well as the public hearing, will be held in the Commission Meeting Chambers, located in room 301 of the Upshur County Courthouse Annex.  The first reading took place during the regular meeting Thursday morning.  The second reading will take place October 8 at 10:30 a.m.  The third reading and adoption of the franchise agreement will take place on November 5 at 10:30 a.m.  The public hearing will take place on October 29 at 1:00 p.m., prior to the final hearing. A copy of the draft ordinance is available for public review on the county’s website at: and is also on file for review during regular office hours in the Upshur County Commission’s office at 91 West Main Street, Suite 101. 

Comments may be submitted in person at one of the scheduled readings, at the public hearing, or via the Cable Franchise Renewal Comment Form found along with the draft Ordinance on the county’s website, following the link previously listed.  Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace highly encouraged people to utilize the comment form on the website to express any complaints or concerns regarding the Ordinance.  This allows Commissioners to review comments prior to meeting. 

Director of the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility, Jan Cochran, updated Commissioners on the facility’s Sunday hours.  In January of this year, Cochran requested an extension for business hours from the County Commission.  Her request asked for the facility be allowed to operate from 8:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays, for an 8-month trial period.  Cochran reported that they have since only had one person utilize these extended Sunday hours.  However, she speculated that the COVID-19 pandemic could be preventing more visitors and suggested waiting until January to review the situation again.  Commissioners approved Cochran’s request and will receive another update in January.   

John Sencindiver, Vice-Chair of the Upshur County Farmland Protection Board sought approval from the Commission to submit a proposal to the Natural Resource Conservation Service regarding designated farmland of local importance in Upshur County.  Commissioner Sam Nolte made a motion to support the proposal, and Commissioner Kristie Tenney seconded the motion. 

The bid opening, presentation and award for the Upshur County Maintenance vehicle, a Super Duty Ford truck, occurred Thursday morning.  Commissioners approved the lone bid of $30,435. 

Also on Thursday morning, was a hearing upon the Petition/Complaint of the Upshur County Safe Sites and Structures Enforcement Agency - Gardner Case Number 010920-01.  The complaint came in January of 2020 and multiple extensions have been given to the property owner, Vicki Gardner.  Gardner’s son in law, William Phillips, opened a car repair shop business on the property.  Little action has reportedly been taken to clean up the property; therefore, the Upshur County Safe Sites and Structures Enforcement Agency turned it over to the County Commission.  Phillips claimed that no one has explained to him what exactly needs cleaned up on the property.  The Commission granted another 60-day extension but warned that a $50 per day fine will be imposed if the property issues are not resolved.   

Commissioners discussed Humphrey Case Number 121318-01 (Washington Tax District – Tax Map 6L – Parcel Number 11.3).  The order setting forth findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law entered on July 9, 2020, provided the property owner with 60 calendar days to have all debris, trash and junk vehicles removed from the property.  The hearing on September 10, 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.  According to property owner Mrs. Humphrey, all vehicles on the property are legal, with the exception of two.  Humphrey claimed that the junk yard is supposed to pick up one of the vehicles but has been reluctant to do so, given the virus.  This case has been pending since December 2018, according to Wallace.  Therefore, Commissioners gave Humphrey another 30 days to get all vehicles licensed and registered or removed from the property.  After that, the County Commission will be imposing a $50 per day fine. 

They also discussed Riffle Case Number 61319-02 (Banks Tax District – Tax Map 3P – Parcel Number 20.1). The order setting forth findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law entered on August 13, 2020 provided the property owner with 30 calendar days to have all debris and trash removed from the property. The hearing on September 17, 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19.  The case has been pending since June 2019, so Commissioners granted Ms. Riffle a 30-day extension, but will then impose a $50 per day fine if the matter has not been resolved.

In other business, Commissioners approved the request to appoint the Sherriff of Upshur County as Administrator for the Estate of the late Eddie Dwayne Perry.  Danny Mcle was also approved as Administrator for the Estate of his deceased parents, Charles W. and Linda L. Mcle.  

Commissioners also approved the 18th Grant Cycle West Virginia Courthouse Facilities Improvement Authority Application for Funding Assistance in the amount of $121,299.  The maximum grant award is $100,000, with a 20 percent match.  The previous Sheriff’s jail and residence project consists of improving and replacing approximately 4,400 square feet of shingles, constructing necessary repairs to the wood sheathing, installing waterproof underlayment, ice and water guard, drip edge and flashing, as well as replacing the siding on the four gable dormers. This is Phase II of a three-phase project.  Lastly, Commissioners approved the request from Upshur County Communications Center Director Doyle R. Cutright II, to promote Betty DeLaura Courtney from E911 Communication Center Telecommunicator, to E911 Communication Center Supervisor, effective October 11. 

Upshur County Commission will hold their next regular meeting on October 8.  Their meeting scheduled for October 15 has been cancelled. 



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