Raleigh County Commission on Tuesday approved "drawdowns" of funding for the Clear Creek Rails to Trails project.

During the regular Commission meeting, Raleigh Commission President Dave Tolliver and commissioners Linda Epling and Ron Hedrick voted in favor of a drawdown of $25,000 from the National Coal Heritage Area Authority.

"That is the $25,000 the National Coal Heritage Authority put toward the project, as their part of the match towards the project," said Jeff Raines of the Region One Planning and Development Council.

He added that the amount covers environmental work by Thrasher Engineering and engineering costs. 

Commission also approved a $2,482.50 in a request for payment from the local funds portion, which Raleigh Commission had already allocated to help fund the project, Raines said.

Those monies pay administrative costs and some engineering costs, said Raines.

The Clear Fork Rails to Trails is the 15-mile addition to the state's 300-plus miles of walking trails. In 2018, the county received about $2.25 million in Abandoned Mine Lands funding through Region One. 

The AML package funds design of the full 15 miles of the project and design and construction of the first eight miles

In June, Commission had given approval to Raines for Region One to accept a sub-grant of $453,860 from a grant package that totals about $2.3 million.

The sub-grant is being used for design, engineering and appraisal work on the Clear Fork Rails to Trails project in western Raleigh County. It is part of a package that totals about $2.3 million.

Once the engineering and design work is completed, Region One officials are eligible for the rest of the grant money to start construction, said Raines.

“We’ve been working on this since, probably, back in the fall,” Raines said. “Since it is federal funding, passed down through the state, there are environmental regulations that have to be followed for what’s considered environment site assessment.”

Raines said in June that an appraisal showed no environmental violations on the project. 

In other actions:

• Commission approved the hiring of Angela Massey in the records division at Raleigh Sheriff's Office and Alan Shanks in the mapping division at Raleigh Assessor's Office.

• Commission approved a request by county attorney Billy Roop to dissolve the public earmarking of cable franchise funds and to add at a future date a new resolution for spending of the fund. Roop said that the fund was first set up for capital improvements in 2000 by Raleigh Commission and Raleigh Building Commission. In 2002, the capital improvement fund was changed to the "cable franchise fee fund" and dedicated to be used for Raleigh Sheriff's Office, with funds to be used for public safety and equipment in law enforcement. The vote Tuesday dissolved the public earmarking of funds, but Tolliver said the fund will still benefit the Sheriff's Office once the new expenditures allocation is identified. At a later date, a new resolution will be made to earmark funds for specific Sheriff's expenditures.

Tolliver was not immediately available on Tuesday afternoon to answer questions about future expenditures.

• Commission held a public hearing for the five-year tax increment financing (TIF) at Glade Springs Village District in Daniels. Nobody signed up to speak. Roop reported to Commission that the hearing is required by state law every five years, when a TIF is in effect. He added that Commission had received a report on Sept. 23 regarding the status of the  30-year TIF, which was started in 2002. Principal dues is $8,115,000. Interest is $2,458,680. The total of all bonds is $11 million, including principal and interest. The county is paying off the TIF at a rate of about a million dollars a year. The maturity rate is 2032.

The next regular meeting of Commission is Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. at Commission quarters.

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