Calhoun county commission met Tuesday at 4 p.m. in
the Courthouse little courtroom to discuss options for correcting
current and future budget problems.
According to the commissioners, there is a 2011-12
financial crisis linked to decreased state funding from oil and gas
severance and other sources.
Excluding pass-through and mandated funding, the
budget $1.3 million, which is used to provide services for the operation
of county offices, which are maintained by about 14 employees, excluding
911 services, which are funded mostly from designated state funds.
Past and current problem is funding the regional
jail bill. It was estimated that the annual jail bill could exceed the
budgeted $120,000 by as much as $100,000.
According to commissioners, over the past two
years, they have virtually eliminated discretionary spending, in some
cases unable to fund longtime public services. They claim to have
eliminated pay raises and reduced health care benefits to county
The commission is required to balance the budget
within three percent, with no deficit spending. Commissioners said the
taxes that county citizens pay would likely increase.
Prosecuting attorney Rocky Holmes presented several
options that he said could be solutions for the current and future
Holmes said his office is paying for access to West
Virginia code books, but the Supreme Court provides the office with two
current code books each year. He suggested eliminating access to the
code books, which could save upwards of $3,000.
He also suggested raising taxes on property,
mineral rights, and free utilities. He would like to see an increase for
daily home confinement fees from $8/day to $10/day. He also suggested a
jail levy bill to cover the cost of the regional jail bill.
Rick Postalwait suggested a corrections levy bill
that would cover the costs of the regional jail bill and Bob Groves’
An operating levy was also put forward. Carl
Ballangee suggested making the county citizens aware of the problem and
the solutions needed to fix it, so the voters can make an informed
decision on an operating levy election.
Commissioner Bob Weaver asked Holmes about the
legality of having a four-day week at the courthouse. Holmes said there
should be no problems with
this change. Weaver suggested that the courthouse stay open five
days a week, but workers would rotate on a four-day work week.
Commissioners said their last resort would be to
reduce health care benefits for employees.
When the budget is created in March, the
commissioners must find and implement solutions for these problems.
The meeting adjourned at 5:21.