Commissioners approve board members, contracts & discuss sports field rents

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners recently approved several appointments and re-appointments of citizens to volunteer county boards.

Commissioners re-appointed John Coleman to the Civil Service Commission.

They appointed James Steiner, Bernard Hook Jr. and Dale McConnell to the Fire Board to serve three-year terms expiring December 31, 2026.

Thomas Stinebaugh was reappointed to the Warm Springs Public Service District board for another three-year term, to expire December 31, 2026.

Generator maintenance

In other business, county officials approved a preventative maintenance contract for 2024 with The Power Connection for inspections and maintenance on the county’s 10 generators. The cost of the contract is $6,710 for the year, not included parts.

Deputy Charles Hess, PRO officer

New school officer

Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer introduced the county’s new Prevention Resource Officer (PRO) to Commissioners on Wednesday, January 17. Charles Hess takes on the PRO position in Morgan County Schools after the retirement of Paul McFarland. Hess is a 16-year veteran of Berkeley County law enforcement, said Bohrer.

Little League & field rent

Hobert Delph of the Morgan County Little League approached the Morgan County Commission about receiving some of the county’s Hotel/Motel Tax to cover costs for the youth baseball league.

Delph said his organization wants to start paying umpires to officiate games so team coaches and managers don’t have that responsibility on top of their other volunteer jobs.

He asked for $6,000 of the lodging tax. The Little League pays $5,009 in rental fees to the Morgan County Parks & Recreation, which owns the public playing fields along U.S. 522.

“If Morgan County could allocate money to field rental fees, Little League would be able to keep registration fees from rising and pay umpires,” Delph told county officials.

He said between spring baseball, fall ball and baseball clinics, the Little League has served around 200 Morgan County kids throughout the last year.

Commissioner Joel Tuttle suggested the county allocate Hotel/Motel funds to the Parks & Recreation board and instruct them not to charge field rent to any sports leagues.

“If we’re going to ask Parks 7 Rec not to charge rent, we need to do that for soccer, too, etc.,” Tuttle said.

Tuttle said he would request the total amount of field rent paid to Parks & Recreation and bring that number back to the commissioners to vote on funding to cover that.

“For under $10,000 we could not charge any league rent again,” Tuttle estimated.

“We have so many volunteers that keep things moving” for youth sports in the county, said Commission President Sean Forney.

Forney said if the county can cover field costs, “you can raise a little less money and spend more time with the kids.”