Guardrail added at Gayle Drive doctor’s office
by Jazz Clark
Several concessions were made during a Thursday, March 8 meeting of the Morgan County Commission regarding a dangerous spot overlooking the Food Lion parking lot, employee insurance plans and outgoing grants.
The commissioners discussed what actions they could take at the county-owned doctor’s practice on Gayle Drive behind the Food Lion.
Officials took up the safety concerns after a van parked at the doctor’s office rolled down an embankment into the parking lot below, killing an elderly man inside.
They considered Green Acres Contracting to do the work of installing a guardrail at the office.
“If we’re going to do this, we should go the whole way,” said Commission President Stacy Dugan. “We need to make sure the doctor’s parking lot is guarded along the whole side.”
Officials expressed a few concerns over the owners of the cliff-bank and the natural erosion of the cliff.
“I’ve been asked a lot about this very issue,” said Commissioner Brad Close. ”The bank is cut right up against our property line, and water damage might make this rail for nothing.”
The motion was approved to take $3,800 from the hospital maintenance fund and install a Type 1 guardrail composed of used material, at a savings of roughly $1,400 compared to new materials.
Green Acres also offered to waive mobility costs for their business.
County officials discussed pursuing reimbursement for the work from the owners of the Food Lion parking lot.
Vernon Brinegar of Smith Nadenbousch Insurance made a reappearance and an internal plan was chosen that would benefit both the employees of the commission and their families fairly.
The new plan for Highmark West Virginia includes a monthly premium of $43,350 and annual premium of $520,200.
Most out-of-network costs will be paid out of pocket, since so few employees use non-network providers, said Brinegar.
The biggest problem facing county employees is lack of information, said officials.
“Employees need letters to be sent to them with a description of changes that are made,” said Commissioner Hutchinson. “We need to emphasize to them they need to get on the computer and go the website and check to see who’s in network and what questions to ask.”
Ultimately, in an ever-changing economic landscape they just need to adapt.
“We need to become more creative with these plans,” Close said. “If rates are going to increase and things are going to get worse, we need to do all that’s in our power to keep improving.”
Tiger Grant for hospital road
Carol York, County Grant Administrator, brought before the board a number of considerations about submitting a Department of Transportation Tiger grant.
The grant is being sought mainly for a connector road between U.S. 522 to Fairview Drive, near the new War Memorial Hospital.
“The pre-application submitted in February was for $10.5 million dollars, to improve roadways in the town of Bath,” York said.
“One of the key areas of the application was ensuring matching funds to make the grant competitive with the many other applications. There are thousands of people vying for a spot,” she said.
Letters of support from Governor Tomblin, Congresswoman Capito’s offices and the County Commission could help competitiveness as well, said York.
York said the application has a very tight timeline for submission, but she is hopeful about the grant.