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Natural gas royalties give Doddridge Commission extra $1 million

Commissioner: Allocating funds is ‘good problems to have’

WEST UNION, W.Va. — The Doddridge County Commission voted Tuesday to allocate $1 million for future purposes: Half will go into the county’s rainy-day fund, and the other $500,000 toward a proposed annex for the courthouse.

The commission has the extra funds because of royalties from natural gas wells that were drilled last fall on property where the county owns mineral rights.

After Tuesday’s vote to transfer the money, the county’s rainy-day fund contains $1.27 million.

“These are good problems to have,” Commissioner Ronnie Travis said of the extra money. “Business has been good.”

Commission President Greg Robinson said that before
plans can be drawn for a courthouse annex, a study must be done to determine how much more space is needed and which offices will be moved.

“Because of space limitations, we need to add an annex or an additional building,” Robinson said. “It will be a process that will take a considerable amount of time; it’s just in the formative stages now.”

That project will likely not begin for at least three more years, according to Robinson.

“We’re going to have to figure out where we’re going to build it,” Travis said. “We want to keep it as close to the courthouse as we can.”

Commissioners also voted to approve $359,928 in several charitable contributions that were discussed during a special meeting May 20, Robinson said.

The commission also approved division orders for two new wells that Antero has drilled on the property where the county owns mineral rights, Robinson said. Through those orders, the county will begin receiving more royalty revenues from Antero.

Two more gas wells are being drilled on the property, and Robinson expects those to go online later this summer.

Also Tuesday, commissioners hosted dozens of third- through 12th-graders who had submitted essays describing what the commission does for the community.

“The top three were elected as county commissioners for a day, so we had a little program where they were sworn in and they acted as commissioners,” Robinson said.

The young commissioners “voted” on whether to promote development within the county park.

“There were comments about that and then they voted, and a lot of the kids during the comment period read the essays that they’d written,” Robinson said.

The children also received a certificate, and a one-day pass to the Doddridge County Fair. The commission also delayed action on three matters:

— Digitization of chancery records in the courthouse was tabled to find out whether the commission is required to put the project out to bid and whether there are any grants available for the work.

— Agreement on a privately owned building that will be constructed so the commission can lease it to house the public library was tabled so that commissioners can review terms of the proposed lease.

— Purchase of a small building for the courthouse grounds that would serve as a sheltered smoking area was tabled so commissioners can determine the best location to place the structure.

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