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Upshur County Commission President Sam Nolte and Commissioner Kristie Tenney at the commission's Feb. 29 meeting. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik)

State funds to support fire departments allocated evenly among Upshur’s seven volunteer fire departments

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission voted to split funds received from the State of West Virginia’s County Fire Protection Fund evenly between all seven volunteer fire departments.

The commission received $86,612.05 from the County Fire Protection Fund established through West Virginia Senate Bill 1021, which passed during the State Legislature’s First Extraordinary Session in 2023.

At the commission’s Feb. 29 meeting, Commissioner Kristie Tenney said she spoke to the volunteer departments, the Upshur County Firefighters Association and the Upshur County Fire Board to determine the best way to distribute the funds.

“Of course, we know that there’s a shortfall with funding, and they would like to see if we would allow all seven volunteer fire departments to split this up equally, which would be $12,373.15 for each of them,” Tenney said. “We would have a sheet in our office – I would recommend an Excel sheet – and they would bring us invoices directly for their needs.”

Some of the discussed uses for the funds included Firefighter 1 classes, Hazardous Material classes, much-needed equipment and fire truck-related expenses.  

“There were a couple of suggestions brought forward to me after the meeting, which were some ideas for recruitment and retention,” Tenney said. “I reached out to a couple of organizations that primarily focus on that need, so I would ask we look at that during the budget season just to pay for that within our own general funding and see if there’s an opportunity to work on some sort of recruitment and retention through some companies that are already successful in that effort.”

“For this funding that we received, let’s just give that directly to those departments,” Tenney added.

Upshur County Commission President Sam Nolte said he liked the idea of seeing a longer-term campaign to increase recruitment and retention in the departments.

“I like the idea of us helping with recruitment and retention,” Nolte said. “I think if you put together a year-long campaign, that’s a long enough time where you can see some results.”

In other Upshur County Commission news:

  • The commission approved and signed correspondence from Samantha Woods, Deputy State Auditor Chief Inspector Division for the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, confirming understanding of the terms of the compliance examination engagement and the services to be provided to the Upshur County Commission. The objective is to examine compliance with the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds during the year ended June 30, 2023. The fee for the service will be $2,990.
  • The commission accepted a Service Proposal provided by Battalion 1 Consultants for Phases I and II for Regional Mental Health & Wellness Program Development, Peer Support Group Development, and Organizational Improvement. Crisis Response funds designated through the Emergency Medical Services Salary Enhancement Fund will be utilized for this project, as previously discussed on November 2, 2023.
  • The commission approved an advertisement for a full-time Animal Control Officer in the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office. Applications received on or before the close of business on Friday, March 15, 2024, will be reviewed; however, applications may be considered until the position is filled.

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