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Federal funding among commission business

FEDERAL FUNDS ANTICIPATED — The issue of federal pandemic relief funds and the recurring problems of littering and speeding trucks were among matters before the Brooke County Commission on Tuesday. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Federal pandemic relief funds, littering and speeding trucks were among matters before the Brooke County Commission on Tuesday.

The commissioners and other area officials are slated to meet later this month with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and officials with the state auditor’s office to learn about guidelines set for funds issued to local government bodies through the federal American Rescue Plan.

Of about $4 billion to be awarded through the state under President Biden’s pandemic relief plan, Brooke County is expected to receive about $4. 25 million, according to Manchin’s office.

Manchin has said that in addition to COVID-19 related expenses, the money may be used for water, sewer and broadband Internet projects.

County Commissioner Stacey Wise said she and the other commissioners have received official confirmation of the amount or how it may be used.

But she said the commissioners have been advised to establish a separate account for the money for bookkeeping purposes.

“It’s not allowed to be commingled with anything,” she said.

Last week, the commission agreed, following the closing of the Wellsburg Community Bank branch, to transfer its funds to local branches of WesBanco and Main Street Bank.

In other business, Wise said littering continues be a problem, as evidenced by the results of recent cleanup efforts by volunteers.

Wise said more than 55 bags of trash were collected along Arnold Mine Road alone, while about 40 bags were filled with trash along state Route 2 between the Wellsburg Kroger store and Dollar General Market.

She noted local business owner Joe Mullenbach organized many of the volunteers, including members of the Wellsburg Lions Club and many students, behind the cleanups.

Wise said the commission plans to take action against litterers, and that can include fining them and sentencing them to community service.

“Those that do it (litter) need to be out there working all day long like those people who don’t but are cleaning up after them,” she said.

Wise noted there’s a state law that establishes a fine of $50 to $1,000 for residents and businesses unable to present evidence of properly disposing of their trash at least once a month.

It’s been noted Brooke County residents may dump trash, at no charge, at the Brooke County Landfill, a private business, on the last business day of each month.

The commissioners also received complaints of speeding trucks and other vehicles in the areas of Greens Run and McCords Hill.

In recent weeks two large trucks carrying materials to a natural gas well near Tent Church Road overturned. No one was harmed, but the accidents caused the road and Eldersville Road to be closed for extended periods while the trucks were lifted.

Brooke County Sheriff Rich Beatty said speed was a factor in both accidents and additional patrols are being done on roads with high volumes of truck traffic.

Also on Tuesday, County Commissioner lamented the recent deaths of Wade Neely, a former field agent for the county assessor’s office, who was 84; and Robert Ossman Sr., a retired steelworker and Navy World War II veteran, who was 93.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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