The Mingo County Commission voted Wednesday morning to repair the roof on a volunteer fire department, support a local festival and pay the insurance for a community park.
Commissioner Greg “Hootie” Smith said that, in the past years, the county has found itself in financial “dire straits” and has not been able to assist with local initiatives.
“We appreciate your work,” Smith told Albert Totten, president of the Delbarton Homecoming, who had asked for financial support by the commission. “All of our municipalities have at least one special event each year. This is what we have to do for tourism. We have to show them who we are and how friendly our people are.
“In the past our funding has been terrible. We have had to cut the budget for the past four years,” Smith continued. “We have worked very hard on the budget this year and have a little funding available. We have set priorities for those funds with our volunteer fire departments coming first.”
Smith, who chaired the meeting as president pro-tem after President Diann Hannah was called away on a family emergency prior to the meeting, went to tell Totten the commission had set aside $1,000 for each of the municipalities in the county to help with their signature events.
“We believe that Homecoming is that special event for Delbarton,” Smith said.
Totten said Homecoming has been celebrated in Delbarton since 1996.
Tommy “Tomahawk” Preece, Marrowbone Volunteer Fire Department chief, asked the county help repair the roof of his department’s building.
“We are in a bad situation there,” Preece said. “The roof is leaking in several places. We have been doing fundraiser,s but we are struggling.”
Preece said conditions are so bad that, if corrective measures are not taken, the trucks will have to be pulled out which would mean leaving residents of the community without adequate fire protection.
“We need a new roof, if not a new building,” he continued citing several structural issues at the department. “We are paying $500 to $600 a month just to heat the building in the winter and it is still so cold in it. We heat it enough to keep the trucks from freezing.”
Estimates for the roof came in at approximately $6,000. The commission approved the request. In addition, county grant coordinator Leigh Ann Ray was asked to investigate any possible grant money that would be available to help build a new structure to house the department.
The commission also voted to cover the insurance premium for the Beech Creek Park in the amount of $993.