unty Commissioner, Jerry Linkinoggor was recently elected Chairman of the Regional Intergovernmental Council (RIC). One of 11 Regional Planning and Development Councils in West Virginia, RIC serves Boone, Clay, Kanawha and Putnam counties and has its offices in South Charleston. Linkinoggor has been a RIC board member since shortly after his election to the county commission. His term as RIC Chairman began on July 1, 2015 and lasts for one-year. He is eligible to be re-elected to a second one-year term.
The Regional Planning and Development Councils provide technical assistance to local units of government in the areas of planning, community development and economic development. They also work with other state and local agencies and organizations on these same issues. A major emphasis area is funding and implementation of water and sewer projects, as well as other infrastructure.
Commissioner Linkinoggor and the other Clay County commissioners have worked with RIC on a number of projects in recent years. This included securing funding of $1,900,000 for the Queen Shoals Public Service District’s waterline extension to approximately 40 families and additional water storage capacity for the District. The project included switching Queen Shoals’ water source from Clay Roane PSD to the West Virginia American Water Company. This same grant paid for the entryway and bathrooms for the new Judicial Annex. RIC also worked with the county commission to obtain a HUD Small Cities Block Grant of $1,500,000 to complete the Pack Fork and Independence Road waterline extension, which is in the design stage. The County recently submitted, with RIC assistance, funding applications for the Clay County Public Service District Interconnection project, which will improve water pressure in the northern portions of Clay County for future service in the Big Otter/Nebo and Ossie Road areas. RIC is currently working with the County to develop water projects in the Osage and Elkhurst Road areas.
The Regional Council also assisted in procuring funds for the new water treatment plant for the Town of Clay and developed a new project with the Town to serve the residents of Blue Knob Road with potable water. RIC has provided technical assistance to the Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone to secure funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission for training of Clay County residents. The Council has provided technical and grant-writing services to all PSD’s in the County to increase water service.
RIC obtained funding and hired an engineering firm to complete the contingency plan portion of the source water assessment and prevention plans for the Town of Clay and the Clay Roane PSD. RIC also recently completed a regional broadband plan and a regional hazard mitigation plan. The Regional Council also assisted in preparing an application for the Clay County Parks and Recreation Department to reline and upgrade the county’s swimming pool.
In 2010, RIC received $860,000.00 from the US Department of Energy (DOE)’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program to provide grants to local governments in the RIC region. The purpose of the grants was to improve energy efficiency of publicly owned buildings. The Clay County Commission applied for and received $134,000 for their project, which consisted of replacement of the HVAC system in the courthouse and installation of energy efficient LED lighting throughout the courthouse. The completion of this project has resulted in substantial cost savings to the Commission due to reduced electricity usage.