Input Sought to Improve Shopping At Farmers Markets

Input Sought on Farmers Market Shopping from Low Income Citizens

4/14/14

Submitted by: Brandy Brabham, WVU-Roane Co. Extension Agent, 304-927-0975 or brandy.brabham@mail.wvu.edu

West Virginia University Extension is looking for people who would like to talk about farmers markets on Monday, April 21, 2014 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Roane County Committee on Aging in Spencer, WVa. Extension educators are trying to find out why people do or do not go to farmers markets.  They are looking for ten to twelve people who are willing to participate is a two-hour discussion on why people do or do not go to farmers markets to shop.  This is part of a research project to help farmers and farmers markets get more customers and to make the farmers market better for everyone.

For participating, citizens from Roane County or citizens that shop mainly in Roane County will receive a $40.00 gift card and a $10.00 gas card as a token of appreciation.  Babysitting and food will be provided for participants.  Participation is limited and will be on a first come, first serve basis.  To be eligible to participate, you must be over the age of 18 and receive either SNAP, WIC or Senior voucher benefits.  Participants do not have to have shopped at a farmers market to be eligible to participate.  Individual participant names and individual comments will not be released to any individuals, government agencies, or other businesses.  Comments will be uses to develop research to improve participation at farmers markets in general.

If you are interested in participating, please contact the WVU-Roane County Extension Office at 304-927-0975 and speak with Travis Cullen or Brandy Brabham or email travis.cullen@mail.wvu.edu or brandy.brabham@mail.wvu.edu.

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Decoding Home Rule

About the Home Rule program: an Interview by Michael Titus

I sat down with city Marketing Director, Jacob Fetty, to discuss the -- as far as I've heard -- misunderstood meaning of the program. 

Can you explain the program briefly? Give us a synopsis of what this Home Rule program is all about.

Sure. Home Rule is a program the State Legislature enacted that allows municipalities -- those who apply for, and are accepted -- to allow them to act basically like a State of their own. A mini-State. So, in our case, what we've done is identify issues in our community, how to address these issues, and make them work better. These are things that Section 8 of the State Code prohibits us doing right now. We can't do anything about speed limits, for example. State Code makes everything 25mph. We need a variance, so that we can make the speed limit 15mph in neighborhoods around parks, or other areas where the speed limit is now too high. 

If we get accepted into this Home Rule program, how will it affect the average citizen in Spencer? The shoppers and business owners?

It will be a nice step. It will be good for business owners because they'll see a reduction in their B/O (business and occupation) taxes. We don't have exact numbers yet, but we're a expecting a 15-20% reduction in those taxes. Any small business owner knows that tax comes straight out of their pockets, so there's the first savings. This reduction will also be a good incentive for people to come to Spencer and open up a new business, or for the businesses already here to stay open and save. 

The average shopper will only be affected a little, because what we've been evaluating is putting up to a penny sales tax on certain items. Items that are EXCLUDED from any such tax include: food, prescription and over-the-counter medications, rent, motor fuel, car sales. The tax would only include those items that people don't purchase on a regular basis, so it's not going to cause a broad effect on those things that can be taxed. 

What we are trying to do is make Spencer a better business environment, and also spread the responsibility of maintaining our infrastructure more evenly between business owners and consumers -- whether those consumers come from Spencer, Roane County, or elsewhere. Hopefully, this will generate some extra funds that will help us make improvements in infrastructure. 

What sort of infrastructure are we talking about?

Reinvesting in our parks and playgrounds (building a long sought after ball field complex), repaving streets -- and paving more streets more often, building new sidewalks. Also, we're going to end up with the National Guard Armory building in a few months. We're going to need to put some money into that, so it's more of a community asset. 

Are there certain things that this Home Rule revenue cannot be used for?

I don't know all the laws about that. But here's the thing: in our application, we have to identify what the money will be used for. When we are audited, we are accountable for what we said we'd use it for. As I mentioned, one case we've identified is building a new ball field for quality of life and economic development purposes. We've also identified removal of blighted, or fire-prone structures, paving more streets more often, building and maintaining sidewalks, and getting the Armory back into tip-top shape so we can use it as another community asset. That's what we're applying for, and that's what we'll be held accountable for. 

I can't not bring this up, so let's talk about the proposed tax. 

Nobody likes the word 'tax.' But it's really important to ask, especially now: Do you want nice things in your community? Do we want nice ball fields for our kids? Do we want paved streets? Do we want to keep the lights on? Do we want Spencer to be a great place to do business in? If the answer is 'yes' then this is a very strong option for us. 


And keep in mind, we're a long way from implementing this tax. We still have a lot of hoops to jump through. The first thing is to get accepted into the Home Rule program. We've got a 50-50 chance. The State is going to take 16 new municipalities, and it looks like 30 will apply. I think we have a good shot at it. We have a good application, we have the need, and we're always looking for creative ways to meet those needs -- ways that aren't burdensome to our citizens. Keep in mind that the four cities that are currently in the program all have a sales tax implemented and it is working wonderfully for them. From what we hear, most of the applying new municipalities are aiming to implement a sales tax as well.

Let's think of it this way. If you go out and spend a thousand dollars per year on the things that are taxable, you're going to be kicking in ten dollars. Every little bit counts -- it absolutely does, for all of us, but would you pay ten dollars a year for a state-of-the-art baseball/softball facility? Or for the removal of dilapidated buildings, so you don't have to live next, or near, to them, with your own property value declining?

It's obvious now that State and Federal funds are drying up. It's not like ten years ago, when Spencer might have been able to get maybe a million dollars in grants. 

That's true. I've been here nearly five years now, and here's just one example: our pedestrian trails used to come under four different programs. Now it comes under just one, and that one has been cut drastically. The Federal dollars are not there. The State dollars are not there. Things are moving toward low-interest loans and matching-funds grant systems, and you still have to find that Match money somewhere. 

West Virginians, in general, have lots of resolve and like to be self-sufficient. The Home Rule program is a good avenue for us to establish a greater self-sufficient environment, and get ahead of the curve. If we wait too much longer, it’s just going to get more competitive, and thus harder for us to get into this program. Then we’ll have a huge gap in protecting and growing our infrastructure, and be further behind. 

Can you elaborate on that? The ‘gap’ you mentioned?

Yes. Let’s take a look at how this works. The time-line. Let’s say our application gets accepted. That means we’ll be included in the program on January 1st of 2015. But even then nothing can be done until we have more public input -- more public hearings and meetings to get ordinances passed and into our city code books. That’s going to take a few months. After that, a few more months of tax collection. After that, the funds get redistributed from the Tax Department into special accounts. We may never have a 1% sales tax. That’s just the highest the law allows. We may only have 1/2%. 

Nothing happens overnight. The best-case scenario is that Home Rule is established a couple years down the line. That’s why we want to get started on it now. If we don’t, it never happens, and we get left behind. 

Is Home Rule the wave of the future in West Virginia?

The State Auditor is advising so, and would like to see all State municipalities involved. This is still a pilot program. It lasts until 2019, at which time the State Legislature could do away with Home Rule altogether, or keep it the same, or open the program up for the other municipalities. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. We need to get in and achieve our goals while we can, in case the program is canceled. We need to keep Spencer thriving, looking beautiful, keep it safe, and increase the quality of life and commerce. That’s the real goal. 

City to Auction Items

At 10:00 am on Monday the 28th of April, 2014 the City of Spencer will offer for sale to the highest bidder the following items.  Sale will be held at the National Guard Armory.

Items will be available for inspection two hours prior to sale. 

  • 1983 Ford F-600 Dump Truck
  • 2001 Dodge Durango
  • 1987 Chevrolet Pickup
  • 1997 Ford Ranger
  • 1997 International Bucket truck
  •  2003 Ford F250 -4 door
  •  Le Roi Air Compressor 185
  •  LeRoi walk behind concrete saw
  •  Chevrolet truck bed
  •  Ice Machine
  •  Lewis 200 Amp Welder (3 phase)
  •  Various mowers, weed-eaters, chainsaws, drills, dollies, gas stoves, grills, water tank, battery charger, window air conditioners and items too numerous to mention.

Obituary: Christian Dawn Starcher

Christian Dawn Starcher Seabolt was born February 29, 1984, and found December 16, 2009.  A funeral service  will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014, in the John H. Taylor Funeral Home, Spencer. 

Burial will be in the Tawney Cemetery, Newton, WV. 

Friends may call at the funeral home one hour before the service.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.taylorfuneralhomeinc.com

City Wide Clean Up Scheduled

SPRING CLEAN-UP APRIL 26,TH  2014

 

                           CITY-WIDE CLEAN-UP DAY

 

Saturday, April 26th,  crews will start at 5:00am and finish at 9:00am in all sections of town.  The city will not pick up more than a level pickup truck bed. If you have more than a level pickup truck bed you need to call 927-1640 to make other arrangements. residents and property owners with no monthly trash service will not be eligible.

all non-bulk items need to be in boxes or bags. items not in containers may not be picked-up.

 

The following items will not be picked up because of landfill regulations:

shingles, tires, batteries, paint, oil, air conditioners, electronics and hazardous materials.

If you are currently on trash service you may call 1-800-834-5019 for 2 bulk items picked up per month with no additional cost to your bill.

 

***tree trimmings will be picked up on Monday April 28th.  please have all items at the curb the night before.  please keep your tree trimmings to no more than (1) level pickup load.***

Pet of the Week.

Hi there my name is Sweetie and I am a 2 year old Spaniel/Beagle mix who was found wandering as a stray. I was brought into the shelter in hopes that someone who might have lost me would see this post and we could be reunited! If no one claims me I will be available for adoption on April 8th. Please if you can find it in your heart to help a poor lonely lost girl like me I would be your best friend forever!! For more information please call Roane Shelter at (304) 927-2555 or visit the shelter in Spencer, WV.

 

Hi there I am a 6 month old FEMALE boxer mix who was found and brought into the Roane Shelter. I am really hoping that my owners will find me. If no one comes to claim me as their own I will be available for adoption on April 5th. Please consider giving a very loving lonely boxer a new home if I can't find my current family. Call (304) 927-2555 or visit me at the shelter in Spencer, WV.

MOV Health Department Seeks Executive Director

Regional County Health Dept. is accepting resumes’ for the position of Administrator. Successful candidate will be responsible for overall management of the health dept. resources, services and programs. Skills in motivating and managing human resources and the ability to exercise sound leadership in motivating community interest and support are preferred.

A Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration, Health Administration, or similar degree plus at least five (5) year’s experience in progressively responsible positions in administration is preferred. Salary is commensurable with WV Division of Personnel.

Please send resume’ by May 12, 2014 to:

Mid Ohio Valley Health Dept.
ATT: Lynne Peters
211 Sixth Street
Parkersburg, WV 26101

Talent Competition

Don't have any plans on Saturday April 12th? Come out and watch the WVKOF Regional Talent Competition! 

The WV Kids on First is hosting a regional talent competition in Spencer on April 12th. The competition is open to students ages 4-21 in the categories of Dance, Drama, Vocals and Instrumental. First, Second and Third place winners, in all age divisions and categories, will be invited to compete at the WV STATE competition at the Cultural Center in Charleston, WV on June 7th.

Contestants will provide their own music (karaoke type cd), costume, prop, and or instruments and should arrive at the Hertige Building for registration between noon and 1p on April 12th. Competition fee is $15 per act. The competition is open to the public, absolutely free, and will start at 2p. First place winners in all categories will be featured in a FREE PERFORMANCE open to the public at 7p that evening.  
 
For more information 304-588-3638 or 304-514-4622.