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Task force to meet one more time to fine tune clean indoor air

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

CLARKSBURG --The task force charged with developing a county clean indoor air policy will meet at least one more time to fine tune the policy before it is considered for a vote by the Harrison-Clarksburg Board of Health.

Task force spokesperson Delia Naranjo presented a copy of the policy to board members during Tuesday's health board meeting. The task force met last month to create a policy that would essentially ban most indoor smoking in the county.

Many of the health board's questions revolved around enforcement, which will be performed by the county's sanitarians. A revision to the policy will allow the sanitarians to issue a warning on first offense, followed by graduated fines for those establishments that defy the smoking ordinance.

Christina Mickey, a Monongalia County resident and clean indoor air project coordinator with the state Department of Health and Human Resources, said Monongalia County has not had to take one case to magistrate course since its smoking ordinance was instituted back in 1992.

"This is basically a self-enforcing policy. Once the policy is passed and people understand what is required, there are very few problems with compliance," Mickey said.

Another revision request to the proposed policy included changing the distance smoking can occur from the entrance of any enclosed area from 15 to 20 feet. Also, wording will be added to the effective date of the policy to allow a six-month grace period to allow for the installation of walls or appropriate ventilation.

The board charged the task force to make the changes and report back to the board on May 8 at 11 a.m.

In other business, board members discussed relocation options with a staff committee formed to find a permanent new home for the health department. The board approved making a request of $200,000 from the state Budget Digest, along with continuing the search for property. A request to hire an architect to draw up new building plans was tabled till a later date.

Last year the department moved to the second floor of the Policano Professional Building on Third Street after its space had to be vacated at the courthouse.

Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com

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