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Harrison, Doddridge counties negotiate Industrial Home territor

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

Harrison and Doddridge county officials say they want to find a solution to a jurisdiction problem at the Salem Industrial Home for Youth as soon as possible.

The Harrison County Commission Tuesday agreed to explore arranging an intergovernmental agreement with Doddridge that will put the home in the Harrison Sheriff's territory.

"I've talked to Doddridge County commissioners," said Harrison County Commissioner Thomas Keeley. "They are willing to do anything to resolve this matter, including giving up some territory."

Since the home's inception, Harrison law enforcement has responded to trouble there. Those who have been arrested there over the years have been processed through the Harrison County court system.

But a recent discovery by the Harrison Sheriff's Department shows that the county line goes through the home's property, and the part where inmates are housed is in Doddridge, Sheriff Wayne Godwin has said.

Godwin has no problem with Harrison County being responsible for law enforcement at the home, but the matter needs to be clarified for procedural reasons, he said.

"I think the simplest way to handle this would be with an intergovernmental agreement," Keeley said. "I suggest that we refer the matter to the prosecuting attorney to draw up."

In other action, commissioners heard a petition by Clarksburg resident Clifton Moore, who wants to open an alley behind his home. That alley would give him better access to his property.

The proposed alley is located on a public right-of-way, but Moore would be responsible for maintaining it.

Commission also told Moore they would draft a letter to the West Virginia Department of Highways asking that the alley be incorporated into the state road system.

That would make the state responsible for maintaining the roadway.

Commissioners also had a brief preliminary discussion about plans for the upcoming excess levy election. The levy will expire on June 30, 2001, and it needs to be either on this year's primary or general election ballot.

"If it doesn't pass during the primary election, then we would have one more shot at it," Keeley said. "If it fails in the general election, we would need a special election (in the spring of 2001)."

Commissioners scheduled a further discussion of the levy for Thursday's 7 p.m. meeting. The levy currently generates in excess of $1.4 million for the county.

Thursday's discussion will address such issues as a levy rate increase or decrease, and who will receive funds from the levy.

Commissioners also addressed several letters from area cable television providers. Cablevision informed the commission, which is the local franchise authority, that rates would go up about 5 percent in the Salem area and about 8 percent in the West Milford area.

Time Warner Cable notified the commission that they will no longer carry channel 11 WPXI.

Commissioners took the notifications as an opportunity to vent their frustrations over local cable service.

"I think it's unconscionable that cable companies have so many worthless channels offered in their basic rate tier," Commissioner Beth Taylor said.

"There are a lot of people on a fixed income in this county who can only afford the basic service."

At a previous meeting, commissioners voted to give the state Public Service Commission the authority to hear cable rate increase protests.

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