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Wood County Commission talks law enforcement gear, election efforts

PARKERSBURG — The Wood County Commission on Monday applied for grants, reviewed bids for the financing bids of new deputy vehicles and prepared for the upcoming general election.

The commission held its regular Monday meeting over the telephone and online through the county’s YouTube page after three employees tested positive for the virus.

On Monday, the commission unanimously approved a federal Justice Assistance Grant with the City of Parkersburg to provide $30,165 to purchase 52 gas masks for the Parkersburg Police Department and $15,300 for the Wood County Sheriff’s Department to purchase 12 portable radios.

The commission also opened three bids to finance new cars for the sheriff’s department. The department is considering buying five new vehicles, 2021 Ford Explorers from Matheny Motors.

It previously put the financing, but only received one proposal. The commission did not open it and rebid the financial package.

On Monday, the commission opened three bids on a loan of $240,000.

Bidding were: BB&T (48 months at 2.49 percent or 60 months at 2.58 percent), WesBanco (48 months at 1.89 percent or 60 months at 1.99 percent) and Country Roads Leasing, which who bid the first time and the commission did not open Monday (48 months at 1.75 percent or five years at 1.95 percent).

The bids were forwarded for review by the county administrator to review.

The vehicles are expected to be delivered this fall.

Commissioners also talked about preparations for the general election in November.

“People can start requesting absentee ballot applications today,” Commission President Blair Couch said Monday. “They can call the county clerk’s office and explain the reasons and COVID is one of the reasons.”

People need to contact the county clerk to get that application. Officials have said there are checks and balances in place with signature checks and more to make sure absentee ballots will go out to the people who request them.

Commissioner Jimmy Colombo said West Virginia is doing it properly. The state is not just mailing out ballots. People have to request them and have checks done.

“(Some states) have mailed out ballots to 100 percent of the people on their rolls,” he said. “We don’t do that. We screen ours properly.”

Couch said the notices sent out telling people about absentee ballots during the primary also helped get a lot of people registered to vote by the primary.

During the primary, the county operated its five early voting locations plus a couple more they were able to have opened and staffed.

“As we get closer to the election, we will talk about how many polling places we can have open,” Couch said. “I am hoping we can go to 20.”

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com

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