The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

August 3, 2013

Monroe County receives court security grant

UNION — An upgrade in security measures is on the horizon for the Monroe County magistrates’ office, thanks to a grant from the West Virginia Division of Justice & Community Services.

More than half of the $118,080 Court Security Fund grant will be used for equipment in the county’s 911 center that is necessary to monitor the duress alarm system and cameras that will be installed in and around the magistrates’ office.

The 911 equipment — including a high-capacity server — was allocated $65,520 in the grant award.

The balance of the grant money will go for duress alarms, door alarms and related equipment, along with five security cameras — two inside and two outside the magistrates’ office and one in the holding cell — and installation of a 4-inch wall with a steel security door.

County Clerk Donald Evans told county commissioners Thursday that, while the grant request had been more than $40,000 higher than the eventual award, the funds would meet many of the security needs on the county’s list.

He also advised commissioners that the deadline to apply for courthouse improvement grant funds is Oct. 4.

Tim Wilson, director of the 911 center, noted that before the new equipment can be installed at his facility, some electrical work will need to be done.

“I have no outlets to plug it in to,” he said of the additional computer equipment.

Commissioner Clyde Gum Jr. said he believes an electrician can put in a subpanel for the necessary new circuits.

The commissioners and Wilson also discussed a proposal to remodel the front of the 911 center. Wilson wants to enclose the front porch to provide a more suitable public reception area but said he won’t know how much money it will cost until the project is put out to bid.

Gum expressed concern about the time and effort it would take to come up with a spec list for all of the various components necessary for the remodel, since it is not yet clear if the project will come to fruition. He suggested the commission first needs to set a maximum project cost.

Wilson argued that without bids, any cost projections will just be guesses.

“We really need some figures,” he said.

According to Wilson, when people enter the 911 center now, they must walk through the work area to reach the administrative offices, a situation that would be alleviated by building a reception area at the front of the building.

“It makes it more friendly to the public,” he said, adding, “I’d just like to steer them away from my dispatchers.”

The commissioners agreed to work with Wilson on drawing up a spec sheet for the remodeling project and then place an advertisement for a pre-bid conference.

- Commissioners voted to lift a moratorium on new cell tower construction and enter into a memorandum of understanding with Highland Cellular for a proposed tower at Rock Camp, with the stipulation that emergency services can hook onto the tower, once it is constructed.

Gary Taylor and Dale McCutcheon of the county planning commission advised county commissioners that new cell tower regulations are nearing completion but agreed that allowing Highland to move forward is “a reasonable thing to do.”

Highland will be expected to make a PowerPoint presentation to the planning commission, submit required information — including a set of drawings — along with a completed application and pay a fee of $1,500 plus any reasonable administrative costs incurred by the county.

- The county commission deferred a decision on paying half of the $15,814 in expenses Summers County officials say they have amassed to date in doing the prep work to set up a joint Day Report program the two counties will share.

The Day Report agreement has been signed by both county commissions, according to Evans.

- The commission accepted a $1,459 bid from Wayne King for a county Jeep that had been taken out of service.

- Evans announced the county has been awarded a $10,000 Governor’s Community Participation grant to pay for supplies and materials used in the recently concluded community service initiative staged by the Boy Scouts.

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