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Upshur officials firm on prevailing wage stance

Exponent Telegram photo by Melissa Toothman Doyle Tenney, right and Mike Bickel, left, continue to advocate for prevailing wage on jobs less than $500,000 despite a legislative decision and Upshur County Commission's stance on the matter.
Exponent Telegram photo by Melissa Toothman
Doyle Tenney, right and Mike Bickel, left, continue to advocate for prevailing wage on jobs less than $500,000 despite a legislative decision and Upshur County Commission’s stance on the matter.

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — Even though Upshur County commissioners are resolved in their decision not to pay prevailing wage when it isn’t required, some local residents are still advocating for it.

Doyle Tenney and Mike Bickel attended Thursday’s commission meeting to provide statistics on the prevailing wage issue. They also asked commissioners to revisit their decision not to pay the wage for construction jobs costing $500,000 or less.

At a previous meeting, commissioners had considered a letter from Tenney in which he asked the commission to continue paying prevailing wage on all county construction projects, even though state law now says that’s not required for contracts under the $500,000 threshold. At that meeting, the commission decided to consider each contract individually.

On Thursday, commissioners addressed another letter from Tenney on the wage issue. They maintained the same stance.

“I really do understand your concerns,” Commission President J.C. Raffety said. “I hope you understand our concerns as well. Because of the responsibility that we have, we take it seriously. … If fiscal responsibility for the public isn’t handled in a proper way, it can lead to serious results that affect many people beyond just those involved.

“Most of our money comes from property tax. Taxpayers trust the commission to make decisions on the expenditure of those funds in a fiscally responsible manner…

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