I attended three days of the 53rd Annual Conference of the West Virginia Municipal League in Morgantown last week. The goal of the WVML Conference is to provide valuable and practical information that will benefit every municipal government and the communities they serve. They accomplished their goal. 

At the Wednesday morning opening session, attendees experienced an opening prayer by one of our state department executives that made me glad to be in attendance. Following comments by Morgantown Mayor Jenny Selin, State Auditor J.B. McCuskey and others, I attended sessions on cybersecurity and employment law. Afternoon sessions touched upon Congressional Earmarks, Dealing with Dilapidated Properties and Land Reuse. Senator Manchin zoomed in for a General Session of Q&A in the evening. 

Thursday morning included a Listening Session on Barriers to Federal Funding. Marlinton is not the only Town dealing with a slow, cumbersome and often infuriating process. (There was enough listening to go around). 

Afternoon sessions included Funding Water and Sewer Projects in West Virginia and a Reintroduction to USDA Rural Development. Speakers in both sessions confirmed ARPA funding of a backhoe is an eligible expenditure. Also, here is a good place to note, the Town’s backhoe is nearly 25 years old, needing repairs, and backhoes will not be getting any cheaper. 

The Honorable Governor James C. Justice III came and spoke to conference attendees at the beginning of the Awards Luncheon. The Governor said, “Who would have ever thought West Virginia would be in the current phase of growth, and West Virginia is literally in the forefront of notable places being looked to, from around the world.” 

I am pleased to share that, during the awards ceremony, the Town of Marlinton received an All-Star Community Award in Recognition for Exceptional Performance and Innovative Contributions to A Progressive Municipal Government. 

Finally, I was asked why I was not at the Opera House last Wednesday for the session with Randall Reid Smith from the State Department of Arts, Culture and History. Now you know why I was not there. But Randall came to me after the Thursday luncheon and told me how much he enjoyed his trip to Marlinton, and he looks forward to coming back and working with us.

Truly, as the Governor said, good things are happening all over the great State of West Virginia. 

Until next time…