WV Counties Risk Pool Holds Annual Meeting
Saturday, 31 October 2015 00:00

Participants in the WV Counties Risk Pool (WVCoRP) met in Harrison County for the annual meeting of the pool’s participants. The pool is owned by its members and governed by a Board of Directors made up of seven voting county commissioners. The board members are elected at the annual meeting. At this meeting, incumbent board member Craig Jennings, Preston County, was re-elected and Commissioner Jerry Whisner, Mineral County, will join the board as a new member.

WVCoRP staff informed the participants that the pool has grown to 47 counties for property and liability coverage and 44 of those counties also participate in the workers’ compensation coverage that is available. Additionally, 91 county entities such as public service districts and solid waste authorities are eligible to participate if their county of location is a member. WVCoRP has added several forms of coverage to its policies since its inception on July 1st, 2007, including coverage for cyber risk, petitions to remove, criminal reimbursement endorsement , and notary public. For workers compensation, staff emphasized that prompt reporting of claims and potential claims is very important.

 
Hardy County
Saturday, 31 October 2015 00:00

Constructed ~ 1911/13

Style ~ Neoclassical Revival

County Seat ~ Moorefield

The present three-story, red brick courthouse was constructed from 1911 to 1913. This is the fourth courthouse for the county. Hardy is the only county in the state with three courthouses still standing.

The first Court house was build in 1786 of logs and was described as a two-story structure 26 feet by 20 feet. It, and a log jail were located on Moorefield Town lots 34 and 35.

When it came time to build the second court house the old log structure was moved to make room for the new. Over the years the old courthouse was moved to various lots.

 
The President's View (October 2015)
Saturday, 31 October 2015 00:00

As I write this letter today, the temperature is cool and crisp and there is frost on the pumpkin.

It has been a very busy month with a board meeting and the Community Leadership Academy. The board meeting met in Charleston at the Holiday Inn Express. It was a very productive meeting, leaving availability for tax meetings with our legislators. Kanawha County was the perfect host, making us feel very welcome. The Community Leadership Academy was held at Lakeview in Morgantown. If you missed this session or have never attended a session, you are or have never attended a session, you are missing a great learning and networking opportunity. WVU President, E. Gordon Gee, was a treat to hear him speak about working together (college/hospital) as a team and helping others in the community and encouraging us to do the same.

Read more...
 
Interim Highlighs (October 2015)
Saturday, 31 October 2015 00:00

The Committee on Workforce Development heard from Dr. Jay Otto, Research Scientist for the Center for Health & Safety Culture. Interestingly, Dr. Otto telecommutes to Montana State University for his employment but lives in Pocahontas County. In an interactive presentation where he had legislators and audience using “clickers” to respond to questions, Dr. Otto conveyed the message that, while the overall U.S. overdose deaths, drug sales, and treatment has increased significantly since 1999, it is a conversation that can be changed when the numbers are studied. He noted that 4% or 61,000 people in WV have taken a prescription pain reliever for non-medical use in 2014. Therefore, most people are not abusing prescription drugs. In 2014, there were 584 overdose deaths, with 26% of those deaths from heroin. “Prescription drug abuse and heroin are low prevalence but high severity,” said Dr. Otto. WV’s response has been good as described in a listing:

  • Governor’s Task Force on Substance Abuse

 

  • State Pain Clinic Licensing

 

  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
  • Improving Access to Treatment

 

  • Prescribe Education

 

  • Prevention Activities

In describing effective treatment and prevention, Dr. Otto said, “There is no silver bullet. There is silver buckshot, using multiple strategies.” Through the research, they are working to change the story and change the perception. For example, in a drug screening of 1,350 workforce investment training participants, 1% or 17 of them tested positive for drug use.

 
Property Assessment Subject of October 5th Tax Reform Committee Meeting
Saturday, 31 October 2015 00:00

Property tax issues continue to be a focus of study for the Joint Select Committee on Property Tax Reform. On October 5th, Dr. Calvin Kent informed the committee that property tax is second only to income tax in terms of revenue generation in WV. In explaining tax exempt properties, Kent noted that the entity requesting an exemption must be non-profit and the property must be used for charitable purposes. The discussion got into detail regarding determination of tax exempt properties subject to a split listing for purposes of taxation. On mineral interests, Kent characterized WV as having the highest level of total taxation on mineral properties in the country. The state appraises mineral properties and sends the information to the Assessors. Kent explained that taxation of mineral interests will be far less reliable as a source of revenue as severance and property taxes decrease.

Jared Walezak, Policy Analyst with The Tax Foundation presented “Pathways to Personal Property Tax Reform,” stating that personal property tax should be eliminated. He noted, however, that 1/3 of the property tax base in WV is personal property but it varies widely among counties. Doddridge, for example, gets 78% of its revenue from personal property tax while Morgan County’s is only 10.91% of its total property tax base. Walezak cited several reasons why states are currently moving to exempt personal property taxation but no particular examples from other states or from WV were presented. He recommended repeal of personal property tax, acknowledging that it would require a constitutional amendment, and shifting to real property for all property tax revenue. He did not include that WV currently is among the lowest in real property taxation or that the tax base would shift among counties. The responsibility to make up the revenue shift would fall to home owners and farms.

 
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