Successful town hall meeting talks will be taken to Charleston

TAYLOR COUNTY—Local legislators will be making their way back to the Capital for the legislative session armed with concerns and ideas for the county, after hosting a successful town hall meeting.

Legislators Delegate Amy Summers, Senator Dave Sypolt and Senator Randy Smith held a gathering with constituents on Tuesday, January 4, to ensure that concerns were heard that could be taken to the Capital during the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session, slated to convene on Wednesday, January 12.

“We had a wonderful turnout, which I was very pleased about,” said Summers. “I was surprised that there weren’t many concerns presented to us, but it was a good evening. We even had Delegate Ben Queen join us.”

The meeting started with a discussion concerning the state of the state.

“Financially, we are in the best shape we have been in decades,” Summers voiced. “In the first six months of the July 21-June 22 budget, we are $400 million above estimates. In addition to this, the state has much federal monies to appropriate.”

After the discussion centered on the state, the floor was opened to attendees to voice concerns and share ideas that could potentially better the city, county and state.

Among topics discussed were payouts for state retirees, the need for Daylight Savings Time for the state, parenting rights and roadways, among others.

“One audience member spoke of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Charleston, and how they believe it to be in poor shape,” revealed Summers.

She said that she has been an advocate for the expansion and upgrades to buildings in the state.

“I have been encouraging for part of the one-time federal allotment of funds to be used for single expenditures, and building new state labs is one of them,” Summers explained. “As far as increase pay for retirees, there is a law in place that prevents that, to keep the pension solvent.”

She disclosed that the speaker voiced that he felt that it would be safe to change the law.

“Getting rid of Daylight Savings Time was another interest we heard, as well as regulating lighting so that skies would be darker for astronomer tourism,” shared Summers.

And while lighting regulation is occurring in some communities and state parks voluntarily, she did not feel a mandate to that effect would pass.

More local concerns were heard including the need for the installation of a handicap accessible boat ramp on the river below the Tygart Dam. Summers provided an update about a new boat launch in the Fetterman area, promising that she would check into whether it would be handicapped accessible, as well.

Of course, internet connection was discussed at the town hall meeting, as it continues to be a hot topic in Taylor County.

“Broadband deployment and current providers were a lengthy topic, and residents were updated on the current internet situation,” Summers explained. “They are encouraged to explore the website for further assistance.”

During the evening, a rape and domestic violence council member shared concerns with the statute related to stalking and housing, while another individual discussed the 50/50 parenting bill that passed last year and how it could be strengthened, according to Summers.

To round out the evening, a West Virginia Department of Highways employee shared some issues he had been experiencing in District 4.

“Senators Sypolt and Smith said that they hear most complaints coming from District 4, and hardly ever hear concerns from any of the other districts they represent,” Summers noted.

She said that all-in-all the talks were successful, and that information heard at the town hall would make its way to Charleston.

“The best part of the evening was meeting a gentleman who just moved to the area to be closer to his grandchildren that live in Parkersburg and Maryland,” Summers imparted. “And of anywhere else, he picked our town.”

For those who were unable to be present at the meeting, concerns can be presented to Summer via email at [email protected] or by phone at 304-340-3210.


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