MEIGS COUNTY — Just a few months after receiving word that Meigs County would benefit from a $700,000 grant, it now appears that money may not be coming to the county after all.
The Meigs County Commissioners said on Thursday that the county had been awarded the grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the West Virginia Public Port Authority to construct a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The grant agreement between the Port of Huntington Tri-State, Area Maritime Security Committee and Meigs County Emergency Services Agency had been signed on March 8, 2012, to award the funding to the county.
At the time the agreement was signed — according to the county — it was agreed that the project would be completed in 2014.
Two weeks ago, the county was informed that all funds must be spent by Dec. 31, of this year.
Given the scope of the project — construction of a 5,000-square-foot EOC — the project cannot be completed in that length of time.
Meigs County Commissioner Tim Ihle said since receiving word of the change, he and the other commissioners, along with other officials in the county have contacted many legislators and government officials at the state and federal level to ask for help is resolving the issue.
He added that many of those contacted were in support of the county in the matter.
Ihle stated that the issue is one of a personnel change which resulted in a different interpretation of the funding.
According to a status report on the project in October, the plan was to have bids for the project in late December and to have it completed within a year.
Grant specifications on the original paperwork stated that the money had to be spent by September 30, 2012, since the grant was a Fiscal Year 2009 program, but multiple letters and emails concerning the deadline stated it should be extended due to the short time between the awarding of funds and the original deadline.
A letter sent from Christopher Fleming, Development Coordinator for the West Virginia Public Port Authority, stated his agency, serving as the Fiduciary Agent, was requesting the extension to Dec. 31, 2013.
A time line for the work was submitted by Bob Byer, Meigs County Emergency Management Agency Director, earlier this year showed the project to be completed in September 2013, with the building in use by November 2013.
Plans were to have the EOC constructed on property provided by the Community Improvement Corporation and located near the newly built Family Healthcare medical office on Pomeroy Pike.
RVC Architects, Inc. has provided architectural services for the county with regard to the project and the design of the building.