Tucker County Commission supports community center

The Tucker County Commission voted Wednesday to donate $25,000 to the Thomas Community Center to help with the cost of installing a new heating system.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the allocation because the center is used as an emergency shelter, officials said.

“I am here as the mayor of Thomas to ask for help with the gymnasium at the Thomas Community Center,” Matt Quattro told commissioners before the vote was taken. “The center serves as an emergency shelter and currently we lost our furnace. If we repair the system, it would cost $50,000 and there is no guarantee how long that will last.”

Quattro said they also looked at a gas forced-air furnace, which would cost $75,000.

“We are asking for help in the amount of $25,000,” Quattro said. “I asked the governor and the state for $40,000 and the city will raise the last $10,000.”

Sherry Simmons, the Tucker County clerk, said she spoke with officials in the treasurer’s office to see if the project would qualify for coal severance money.

“Back in July of 2012, the state of West Virginia provided a certain percentage from our coal severance money,” Simmons said. “Since we are a coal-producing county, we received that percentage. But there is special guidelines we have to follow to the letter.

“This is not taxpayers’ money,” she said. “I spoke with the treasurer’s office and they said this is a fine line, but since it is for the betterment of the community, we can use the money for this. The reallocation money will qualify to pay for your request.”

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, voted to support a trip by the Tucker County High School Future Farmers of America club.

The group gathered donations to attend the National FFA Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Commissioners voted to donate $1,500 to the group for their trip. Club members shared a video about the conference and their trip with commission members Wednesday during their regular meeting.

Senior Tyler Hebb, the president of the Tucker County FFA group, said the trip represents a huge opportunity for the club. Students talked about what they learned during the conference, including communication skills. They said they were told about the importance of face-to-face communication by coaching legend Rick Pitino.

He told the group about two life skills they needed to learn, including never answer a cell phone while talking to someone else, and that they need to listen four times as much as they speak.

The next meeting of the Tucker County Commission is slated for 8 a.m. Jan. 2.