Calhoun county commission met Monday, 9 a.m., in
the Calhoun Courthouse little courtroom.
In discussing a review of the budget control report
for July, administrative assistant Danielle Stevens said, “No problems
yet, but there will be.”
The State of West Virginia taxes coal in each
county, as either mineable or unmineable, which determines the tax rate.
Calhoun has no mineable coal due to depth and location. The state
charged 1,666 accounts as mineable, rather than unmineable. A motion to
exonerate the tax tickets was approved. The inaccuracy will cause a
deficit of $13,000 to $15,000 in the budget.
County clerk Richard Kirby gave a gloomy forecast
for the budget: “As we discussed, there are very few good things to
When asked about a projection for the 2011-12
fiscal year, Kirby said, “You’re not going to do anything but cover
courthouse costs and lay a bunch of people off.”
With a predicted shortfall of $200,000, even with
layoffs, the deficit would be difficult to cover. Kirby said that the
overall package for a worker is less than $50,000, and more than three
people would need to be laid off, which he said is not feasible.
Citing similar troubles in Wirt County, Kirby
suggested the possibility of an operating levy. A second, more
controversial option would be to consolidate the town of Grantsville and
the county of Calhoun.
Good things were: The worthless checks fund of
about $14,000 will pay for an audit of magistrate court, which is
estimated to cost around $10,000; and delinquent land money, which has
not been used in a couple of years, can be divided by the sheriff’s
office, with the commission getting up to $30,000. The money could cover
a special prosecuting attorney’s fees and the coal exonerations.
At the last meeting, the commission cut $4,000 out
of the budget due to carryover. According to Kirby, the budget cut is
not going to help long-term, and will barely cover the carryover.
“There’s not going to be any money there to give
the elected officials back the money that was cut out of their budgets
or anybody else. Quite honestly, I thought we would have a good year
this year,” said Kirby, “but it’s not going to be a good year. There
could be some problems getting through.”
One item of projected loss lies with money budgeted
for oil and gas severance. Kirby said that the oil and gas industry was
down this year, and will be even more so next year, affecting the tax
income enough that the county “could lose a couple hundred thousand
dollars fairly easy and nothing to make up for that.”
He said that no known state action could help with
The budget for the county park only covers half a
year’s worth of expenses. Layoffs are possible due to lack of funds.
Commissioner Bob Weaver said, “At this point in time, we are obligated
to constitutionally keep the elected officials’ offices in operation.
The county park is optional.”
Richard Morris appealed to the commission in
regards to an issue with his taxes. Prosecuting attorney Rocky Holmes
looked over the matter and concluded that it is the responsibility of
the taxpayer to ensure all taxes are paid, even if mistakes were made in
Mark Edwards requested permission for the AlderWood
Event campground in Chloe to be used for an Oktoberfest celebration, in
which alcohol would be served.
Holmes presented two issues of concern: security
and profit. Security would need to be present to enforce state alcohol
laws. It is uncertain whether the county or Edwards would provide
The second concern is with profit in determining
what percentage would go to the county. Holmes requested to table the
issue until the next meeting in hopes he will have contact with Edwards
to discuss the issues.
The commission received the first bill from Holmes
for close to $1,800. The prosecutor will have to request more money for
the budget to receive payment.
director Josh Johnson requested a release of levy funds for the
audit, due on Aug. 16. EMS
has already borrowed $20,000 to keep operating. A motion to release levy
funds to the EMS,
contingent on completing the audit in a timely manner, was approved.
A representative of OES director Kathy Wood
reported the propagation study for the south tower site on Jake’s Fork
is completed. This site is intended to provide coverage to the Roane
County line, the Leatherbark area, Hur, and Annamoriah.
The emergency planning committee received a $1,000
grant to make the public aware that an emergency planning committee
exists and what the emergency plans are for the county.
In other business, a pay raise using 911 funding
was approved for Gary Buchanan, William Shock was reappointed to the
Mid-Ohio Valley Health Dept., and Steven Sams’ resignation from the
building commission was approved.
Kirby gave a report for the special election. An
equipment test is planned Friday at 4 p.m., contingent on the receipt of
the equipment. The number of poll workers for the special election,
three Democrats and two Republicans, was approved.
The Summer Youth Program met all standards, with no
incidents to report. Participants completed work at Upper West Fork
Park, including painting the stage and buildings.
Dale Cunningham of West Central Beekeeping
Association requested funding of $2,500, which was denied due to lack of
Tim Meeks of Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council
discussed seven properties involved in the Hazard Mitigation Grant. Two
elected to drop out, three accepted the county’s offers, and two had
their own appraisals done.
The two that had their own appraisals completed
asked for an alternate offer by the county. The commission entered into
an executive session from 10:37 to 10:42, and decided to present an
alternative offer at a higher amount.
A grant for air conditioning at the courthouse can
move forward once the contract has been looked over and approved by
Holmes. The courthouse security grant contract was approved and signed.
Resolutions to pass five partnership grants for
Grantsville VFD, Upper West Fork VFD, Upper West Fork Park, Calhoun
County Park, and Arnoldsburg VFD were approved.
The next county commission meeting will be held
Tuesday, Aug. 31, 9 a.m., to canvass the election. The next regularly
scheduled meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m.