WELLSBURG - The Brooke County Commission on Tuesday tabled a proposed lease for the county prosecutor's office and the return of property to the Brooke school board that the commission had considered for a new ambulance station.
The commission in October was approached about leasing space in the Cross Law Office for County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III, who plans to work full-time when he steps into the position in January.
Current County Prosecutor David B. Cross, who has chosen to step down from the position, suggested the lease because Barki isn't employed by his law office.
GRANT AWARDED — State Sen. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, presented confirmation of the award of a $400,000 federal grant for the second phase of the Mahan Lane-Eldersville Road-Bruin Drive sewer project at Tuesday’s Brooke County Commission meeting. On hand were, from left, County Commissioners Tim Ennis and Marty Bartz; Yost; and Archie Doll and Terry Bonaventura, board members for the Brooke County Public Service District, which initiated the project. - Warren Scott
He proposed a monthly rent of about $2,076, including a share of utilities - gas, electricity, water, telephone and garbage collection services.
For many years Cross and the county's assistant prosecutors - who included his son, who is his law partner- have worked out of Cross' office and the county didn't pay for its use.
Commission President Marty Bartz said Tuesday attorney Michael Gaudio, whom the commission hired to negotiate on its behalf, has recommended tabling the proposed lease until after Jan. 1, when Cross isn't county prosecutor.
The state ethics commission had recommended the commissioners hire Gaudio because Cross, by state statue, is its usual legal counsel.
In other business, the commission tabled returning to the Brooke County school board land along Cross Creek Road it had donated for the development of a new ambulance station.
The school board and West Virginia Department of Transportation had donated land across from Brooke High School, and the commission had considered leasing additional property from the Norfolk-Southern Railroad.
But the commission and ambulance service weren't able to generate sufficient funds for the station, which had an estimated cost of $400,000, and two new stations were added north of Follansbee and at Marshall Terrace off state Route 67 in the interim.
The ambulance service was moved from the first floor of the county courthouse during the 2004 flood.
Bartz, who also is assistant superintendent of Brooke County Schools, said the school board's donation was on the stipulation that the land be used for the ambulance station and suggested its ownership could revert back to the school district.
County Clerk Sylvia Benzo said Cross has taken the necessary steps to do that. But Bartz said he should recuse himself from the vote because he's employed by the school district.
Because County Commissioner Norma Tarr was unable to attend the meeting, a vote couldn't be taken by the three commissioners.
In other business:
State Sen. Jack Yost, D-Wellsburg, presented to the commission and members of the Brooke County Public Service District Board confirmation of a $400,000 federal Small Cities Block Grant awarded for the extension of sewer lines in the second phase of the Mahan Lane-Eldersville Road-Bruin Drive sewer project.
Plans call for sewer lines to be extended from Black's Hollow in the Cross Creek area and to St. John's and Eldersville roads for as far as funding will support. The Brooke County PSD is seeking an additional $700,000 for the remainder of the proposed project, which would serve about 550 homes and small businesses.
The commission received a letter from Sylvia Taylor of Wellsburg seeking reappointment to the county board of health. It was agreed the commission would accept letters of interest for the seat for two weeks, after which it may consider Taylor and other applicants.