Berkeley County Council briefs

January 14, 2011

Electrical inspections

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council Thursday reversed course on how electrical inspections will be conducted, ending an arrangement the county had with one company to provide the service.

In a 4-1 vote, council members decided to allow any state-qualified electrical inspector to submit his or her qualifications to the county if interested in providing the service.

The county's exclusive agreement with Middle Department Inspection Agency, which was in effect for little more than a year, now is set to expire on March 15.

The Berkeley County Department of Land Use Planning and Engineering does not have paid electrical inspectors on its staff.

With the elimination of the contract with MDIA, the council eliminated a level of oversight it had over electrical inspections and will now rely on the West Virginia Fire Marshal's Office to respond to concerns, legal counsel Norwood Bentley III said.

Before entering the exclusive arrangement with MDIA, a federal district judge ruled that only the state had authority to respond to concerns about the work of electrical inspectors, not the county.

Anthony Carrico, who heads the regulatory/licensing division of the fire marshal's office, said Thursday that the agency had four assistant state fire marshals statewide to investigate any such complaints.

The bulk of complaints fielded by the state concern licensing issues, Carrico said.

K-9 honored for service

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Berkeley County Council has recognized the services of Sultan, a sheriff's department police dog that has been retired after eight years of service.

In a Jan. 3 memo to Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster Jr., K-9 handler Sgt. T.A. Young said the police dog had been responsible, in whole or in part, for drug seizures totaling several hundred thousand dollars.

"Sultan will be missed in the back of my police cruiser and by the officers with whom he patrolled the streets," Young said.

Sultan's retirement was effective Dec.  27, when the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department acquired, Ronin, his replacement, Young said.

The council's resolution recognizes the ownership transfer of the dog from the county to Young, who will be responsible for the dog's future care.

DOH: Bridge replacement a priority

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The small North Tennessee Avenue bridge at War Memorial Park in Martinsburg has been identified as a priority for replacement by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, city officials have been told.

Though not programmed for any improvement, the span is eligible for federal bridge replacement money, state Transportation Secretary Paul A. Mattox Jr. told Mayor George Karos in a Dec. 20 memorandum.

"This structure will be brought to our project review committee to determine if there is a way that we can expedite the replacement of this structure," Mattox said in the memo.

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