Local's prevailing wage request didn't prevail as intended

BUCKHANNON — A concerned citizen wrote to the Upshur County Commission about the West Virginia Prevailing Wage law, but his request did not generate a motion and, as a result, was not considered.

French Creek resident Doyle Tenney wrote that he believes the prevailing wage law would adversely affect job wages that workers on construction projects costing $500,000 or less have grown to rely upon.

He sought the commission’s consideration of passing a county law to continue to pay prevailing wage on jobs less than $500,000 in the county, but when Commission President J.C. Raffety called for a motion to consider his request, no one made a recommendation.

Raffety said the request is based on a statute passed by the West Virginia Legislature in the last session. He said public jobs under $500,000 in value could be awarded by governmental bodies at a rate of less than the prevailing wage.

“I would think the county, rather than choosing not complying with the law, would, on a case-by-case basis, depending on the significance of the project, the work required and degree of the expense required, would make the decision whether or not to pay prevailing wage,” Raffety said.

He said some projects are very minor and others are handled by internal maintenance.In other news, Chief Tax Deputy Shelia Adams provided her annual update on taxes billed last July that became delinquent as of April 1.

Personal property tax delinquencies totaled an approximate $365,000. Real estate delinquencies totaled about $403,000. There were some supplemental tickets totaling about $3,200. Total delinquencies were approximately $772,000.Adams said personal and real properties that were discharged totaled about $23,000. So far, 97 percent of the taxes have been collected, Adams said.

In other news, Raffety said there are local pet rescue groups that are on an approved list to adopt animals from the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility, which then attempts to adopt out to other households.

Claws and Whiskers Rescue Foundation of Rock Cave recently submitted a request to be included on that list, which the commission approved. Raffety said sometimes the organizations approved adopted pets outside the state, as well as within.

“We have several organizations that engage in that activity, and as a result of that, it minimizes the number of animals that have to be euthanized,” Raffety said. “In my opinion, that’s a good thing.”

Raffety said after these organizations adopt a pet from the shelter, they are then responsible for the care and adoption of that pet, relieving the shelter of any further responsibility for that rescued animal.

Commissioners also approved a request from the Upshur County Republican Executive Committee, host of a West Virginia Day ceremony June 20, to access the inside lobby of the Upshur County Courthouse Annex for the celebration if there is inclement weather.

The event takes place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., and participants would otherwise gather at the front of the annex. Cake and punch will be served to the public.

Commissioners also approved an agreement with the West Virginia Division of Highways for repairs to the Youth Camp Girder Bridge in Selbyville.Staff writer Melissa Toothman can be reached at (304) 626-1445 or by e-mail at mtoothman@theet.com