ROMNEY — The Hampshire County Commission approved new polling places for county precincts, learned the county will get a new aerial mapping this year, and settled on an approach to provide more oversight of the board of health at Tuesday’s meeting. 

For the most part, voters whose precincts have not changed should find their polling places unchanged as well, County Clerk Eric Strite announced — though there will be some exceptions. 

For example, they could not find a suitable polling place in Precinct 26 (Green Spring), and will be asking these voters to vote at the Springfield Senior Center. 

Commissioner Dave Cannon suggested the newly renovated Assembly of God church might make a suitable Green Spring polling place. Strite promised to take a look, while explaining that the county usually avoids using churches because they are privately owned and often have accessibility issues. 

The list of polling places, which may yet see some revisions, will be posted with other election information on the county website, hampshirewv.com. Strite will also be mailing out voter ID cards with new precincts and polling places. 

Casting votes during the early voting period will now be possible at 2 locations, with a satellite location to be set in the cafeteria of the old Capon Bridge Middle School in addition to the Courthouse in Romney. 

County webmaster Aaron Cox and assessor Norma Wagoner told the commissioners that the county will receive a new high-resolution aerial photography mapping in February and March — during the period when leaves are off the trees, with results to be ready no later than Oct. 1. 

Cox said that thanks to prices negotiated by WVU to have such mapping done statewide, they would not need additional funding from the County Commission. 

Wagoner noted the county is getting a lot of tiny houses and buildings constructed without permits — all of which should show up on new aerial maps. 

As county residents should know, any new structures from barns and houses to sheds and gazebos require building permits — and anyone failing to get one should expect to hear from the planning office once the new maps are ready. 

The commissioners revisited Cannon’s recommendation that a county commissioner be appointed to serve ex officio on the county board of health, as recommended by the senate bill passed earlier this year giving county commissions more oversight of board of health decisions. 

Commission President Brian Eglinger recommended that they take a more informal approach, with commissioners simply attending board of health meetings, and the board of health furnishing meeting minutes to the commission. 

The other commissioners decided to try this, with Cannon agreeing to attend that night’s board of health meeting. 

In other business, Cannon reported that while final decisions have yet to be made on disposition of unused space at the School for the Deaf and Blind, Eastern Community College should be offering some courses there, and some space will be given to the state Department of Health and Human Services. 

Cannon also reported that discussions with Hampshire County Development Authority Executive Director Eileen Johnson, would-be online radio entrepreneur Rick Schneider and others have “navigated” a way to provide upgraded Internet to the Romney Business Park less expensively than expected, and funds from the County Commission will no longer be required. 

Attorney Logan Mantz appeared before the commission for the 3rd time to request that American Rescue Plan funds be approved for the Capon Bridge Revitalization Group’s School Street Project, which is repairing and reconfiguring a former parking lot used as a street leading to the Capon Bridge schools, as well as for parking for the old Capon Bridge Middle School, 2 churches, and a couple of businesses. 

Mantz told the commission that he had made the adjustments recommended by county grant writer Erin Timbrook’s office, and Timbrook had “greenlighted” the project. The commission approved the request. 

Eglinger said he would check with Aaron Cox and Erin Timbrook to see if all their questions about the project had been answered, indicating a willingness to help with the project if it were a permissible use of ARP funds. 

The commissioners also signed this year’s memorandum of understanding between the 3 counties (Hampshire, Hardy and Pendleton) served by the South Branch Valley Day Report Center, at the request of new Day Report Director Darin Taylor. o

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