My vote goes to James R. Christie. If the possession of a controlling influence to make the changes a person wants is part of the definition of powerful then Jim must be it.
The Harrison County Commissioners can not refuse his requests. The Commissioners don’t even have their own lawyers providing an independent eye on the documents that Jim provides. They rely on his advice and are prone to sign on the dotted line. Case in point was a recent proposal for the County to guarantee YMCA bonds. If it were not for a citizen who looked into the matter and asked some salient questions the Commissioners may have signed up to guarantee bonds that were neither tax-free in the eyes of the IRS or were of questionable legality under the laws of WV.
At Comvest, located on Genesis Blvd, Mr. Christie is in the investment bond business and provides his services to the municipalities, school board, various county government entities from EMS to volunteer fire departments, to owning and leasing the bleachers at the RCB football field. His partner is the president of the Harrison County Development Authority that advises the County Commissioners on TIF and other members of public investments. Another employee is a former administrator of the school board and now provides the Board with advice and strategies on local school bonds. He also has debated the merits of creating a new school at Charles Pointe.
As a member of the Board of Directors for the YMCA, Mr Christie sees the future for the YMCA at Charles Pointe. Some discussions about the future relocation of the county’s Senior Citizens Center have been offered, sotto voce, with the idea of a new Y.
Mr. Christie is a champion of the Charles Pointe development and reportedly has predicted that it will become the future Main Street of Bridgeport. He’s the guy to make that happen. Mr. Christie is the Chairman of the Charles Pointe Community Enhancement District and will be determining the real estate assessment values against current property owners. If you wish to find out more about the Charles Pointe CED, by the way, then you will not want to miss their meeting on Monday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m. in the municipal building in the City Council Conference room.
Mr. Christie is of course the Mayor of Bridgeport. He is a powerful member on the city counsel and has additional support from a newly appointed replacement council member. Let’s also give him credit for being a board member of the airport authority that will influence investment in that development area.
Bridgeport, under Mr. Christie, is applying for the Home Rule Pilot Program wherein the state will choose five cities to participate. The program will allow the chosen municipalities to gain some degree of exemption from the state laws that other municipalities must follow in the areas of taxation, personnel, administration, annexation and some other areas. It may be the wave of the future if used properly, allowing cities to create their own substitute laws, so to speak. Be sure to take a close look at the final application for a copy of the written plan which will explain how this will make Bridgeport better.
I can’t think of anyone in Harrison County who is more powerful. Can you?