Wood County Commission discusses housing program

Photo by Brett Dunlap Retired Parkersburg South High School math teacher Paul Miller appears before the Wood County Commission on Thursday with Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library Director Brian Raitz to be interviewed for one of two county appointees on the Parkersburg-Wood County Public Library Board. The commission unanimously approved his appointment to the board.

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Commission signed off on a resolution between Parkersburg and Wood County for the Home Consortium Annual Plan for 2019/2020.

Ryan Barber of the city of Parkersburg presented the Wood County/Parkersburg Home Consortium budget of over $323,000, which is administered by the Parkersburg Development Office. The funds are eligible for use in Parkersburg, Vienna, Williamstown and the county.

“Every year we are required to provide a certain percentage of our allocation to a community housing organization…which is Habitat For Humanity,” Barber said. “We are funding the construction of one new affordable housing unit somewhere in the county.”

They are providing around $10,000 in funding for The Down Payment Assistance Program to help first-time homebuyers who are eligible.

They are also providing $30,000 to provide rental assistance in work with the West Virginia Children’s Home Society so people at risk can afford housing while learning skills to help make them more efficient.

Photo by Brett Dunlap Ryan Barber of the city of Parkersburg discusses the Wood County-Parkersburg Home Consortium’s budget of $323,000 at the Wood County Commission meeting Thursday.

They also make money available for new construction and rehab projects where they would partner with a housing developer to provide affordable housing. The organization’s funds could provide a subsidy of money where the project would not otherwise be viable.

The help could make the project profitable for the developer, Barber said. Other money was available to landlords to rehabilitate rental properties at zero percent or low interest loans, but the landlord could not increase the rent because the units were being improved.

“(The Home Consortium) is a wonderful program and we want to thank the City of Parkersburg for administering it,” Commissioner Blair Couch said.

In other business, the commission interviewed and unanimously approved the nomination of Paul Miller to the Parkersburg/Wood County Public Library Board.

Miller is a retired math teacher who taught at Parkersburg South High School for over 35 years and has been retired for seven years.

“I have been a resident of the southside for over 40 years,” he said. “I have a strong belief that the library is an institution with great traditions of books and learning, but still with its eyes to the future.

“The library is responsible for providing this information in many different forms.”

Wood County Library Director Brian Raitz appeared before the commission as well and talked about what the board does. Wood County appoints two people to the board, the Wood County Board of Education appoints two and the City of Parkersburg appoints one to the five-member board.

Miller had served on the board before, being appointed in 2015 to replace another person who had to step down. Although he did not serve on the board when the southside library was being designed, he previously served on the board during the last year of construction and he had served on the board as renovations were underway on the main branch along Emerson Avenue.

The term will be for five years.

Commissioner Bob Tebay commended the library as a resource for people to go to look up information on family histories and find other information.

In other business:

* Jeff Hamrick was nominated for the Wood County Civil Service Commission as the Wood County Deputy Sheriffs Association’s representative.

* The commission nominated Tim Flinn for re-appointment to the Wood County Airport Authority.

* The commission announced the upcoming vacancy on the Wood County Fire Board and is considering putting a name in nomination.

The position would be for Kim Marshall who the commission was informed was resigning. However, officials said they have not gotten any official notice of Marshall’s intentions.

The Fire Board dropped off a letter saying it unanimously voted to present Robert McMullen of Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department for the commission’s consideration to be appointed to the board.

Marshall also serves in the elected position of county surveyor.