By Mannix Porterfield
By his own assessment, Tuesday was among the best days Raleigh County Commission President Dave Tolliver has ever had since winning the office two years ago.
The reason for his joy was the commission’s payment of $54,000 as the final installment to the Beckley engineering firm E.L. Robinson Co. for the design of the Bragg-Pluto water project.
“Now we can apply for money to put the system in,” Tolliver said afterward.
“That is one of the best days I’ve had as a commissioner. You’re looking at 164 homes that just have wells. Plus, you pick up 44 houses on a 2-inch water line from Beckley Water Co.”
History has shown the wells aren’t reliable, particularly in times of protracted heat and dry weather, the commission president said.
In the summer months, wells are known to run dry, forcing water to be trucked in, and even when the reservoirs are full, the water often turns crimson, he said.
“You can’t even drink it,” he said.
“This is a great day for the people out there.”
Now that the engineering studies are complete, Tolliver said the firm can begin applying for federal dollars from a host of agencies to acquire the estimated $6 million needed to bring water in on a steady basis.
The engineering firm was paid a total of $374,000 with money collected from the coal methane tax.
“It didn’t come out of the general fund,” Tolliver said.
“By law, that money has to be used for economic development or infrastructure, so that’s good.”
On another matter, the commission approved $22,500 for a two-week project by the Boy Scouts of America for the special “Day of Service” that will cover some 40 projects across Raleigh County.
“Any time you can get money for the Boy Scouts for the two weeks to do some community projects, it’s worthwhile,” Tolliver said.
“It has to be worth the money to furnish the materials. We furnish the shovels, rakes, and hard hats — everything like that.”
The project was put before the commission by Susan Landis, executive director of the Beckley Area Foundation, and Ellen Taylor, president of the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.
Thousands of Scouts plan to pour into a newly-built complex in nearby Fayette County this summer for a Jamboree, and part of their time will be invested in beautification projects across the region.
In another matter, the commission approved the quarterly payment of $15,750 for the county’s health contract.
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