Greenbrier County Commission approves $2.7 million for water extension, moves forward with GigReady Broadband Project

By Matthew Young, RealWV

LEWISBURG, W.Va. – The Greenbrier County Commission, on Tuesday, approved financing for the second phase of the county’s ongoing water extension project. An overview of the terms of the county’s investment was provided by Commission Counsel Britt Ludwig.

“As the commission may recall, it has pledged a portion of its ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grant funds to the (subrecipient) Greenbrier County PSD (Public Service District) #2 to finance a portion of the Phase Two Water Extension,” Ludwig began. “The total project cost is expected to be approximately $20.3 million. The commission has committed, in a previous action, $2.5 million in financing toward that total project cost.”

According to Ludwig, the agreement between the county and PSC #2 requires the incorporation of the county’s ARPA addendum “with all contractors and subcontractors who may be involved with the project, just as the commission is required to do with its contractors.” 

“At this time, it would be appropriate for the commission to formally accept the terms of the subrecipient agreement,” Ludwig added, before the commission voted in favor of acceptance. 

The committee’s next piece of business was further consideration of agreements pertaining to the county’s GigReady Broadband project. Ludwig again provided an overview. 

“The GigReady Broadband project that the commission has entered into with the W. Va. Development Office requires the procurement of engineering services,” Ludwig said. “The commission, on a previous occasion, had selected Thompson & Litton to provide those services.”

As the commission is now in receipt of the grant award from the W.Va. Development Office, Ludwig noted that it is appropriate to enter into a contract for those services with Thompson & Litton. Ludwig added that the contract provided for the commission’s review is a “standard EJCDC (Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee) contract, and fits within the proposed budget for the project.”

“Thompson & Litton has accepted the terms as presented in the agreement,” Ludwig said, before the commission voted unanimously to do the same. 

A “Letter of Understanding Agreement” with the Region Four Development Council regarding the GigReady Broadband project was next considered, and again explained by Ludwig.

“[The commission] determined to work with the Region Four Development Council to apply for the GigReady Broadband project,” Ludwig said. “Now that the commission has received the (grant) award, it’s time to enter into a formal agreement, as the commission has already selected Region Four to act as its project administrator with regard to the disbursement of funds and ARPA reporting requirements.”

“That agreement has been presented in the form of a Letter of Understanding,” Ludwig added.

The commission unanimously approved acceptance of the agreement with the Region Four Development Council. 

Additional GigReady Broadband project business conducted by the commission Tuesday was granting approval to establish an independent bank account for the project, as well as the adoption of a procurement policy as required by ARPA. The procurement policy was prepared by the Region Four Development Council. 

In other business, the commission approved the hiring of new employees at the Greenbrier County 911 Center and the Office of Emergency Management, as well as granted the Mountain State Transit Authority’s (MTA) funding request for 2023/2024 of $10,000.

“The MTA requests local commitments from counties that they serve,” Commission President Tammy Tincher said. “At this point, MTA continues their regular service to the industrial park – which includes service to the Greenbrier Valley Airport, Seneca Mental Health, Maxwelton Health Center, and other businesses.”

MTA receives federal funding in the form of grants from the federal government. However, in order to remain eligible for those grants, the MTA is required to receive additional funding from the state, as well as the counties it services.

“MTA links up with the Pocahontas County Route and provides transportation services from Pocahontas County to Greenbrier County for doctor’s visits, shopping, and other transit needs,” Tincher added. “They also tried a route on the western-end of the county. Unfortunately that did not work as well as our routes on the eastern-end, but they are open to that. We hope to try to keep that option open in the hopes that we can have that transportation on the western-end to help our residents.”

On the recommendation of Commissioner Lowell Rose, the commission selected Roanoke, Virginia-based Lawrence Company movers to facilitate the transition from the current courthouse to all new locations. The commission also selected Segra to handle the telephone and communications portion of the courthouse project.

Adam Whanger Contracting’s bid of $2.7 million was accepted for the Greenbrier County Health Department’s construction and renovation project. 

“The base bid, I think the only real obstacle is if we hit unsuitable soil,” Rose said. “The there would be a slight addition, but I don’t think there would be anything else that would raise or change it (the bid).”

Lastly, the commission approved the signing of a proclamation for “Ruritan Awareness Month” in Greenbrier County. 

“The proclamation states, “Whereas, Ruritan is a civic organization made up of local clubs, small towns, and rural communities. Ruritan clubs have been serving local communities since May 21, 1928. Whereas, these Ruritan members promote community, fellowship, and goodwill throughout the county.”

The next scheduled meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission is Tuesday, May 23. 

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