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County Commission Adopts Reduced Budget for 2021-22

At its March 25 meeting, the Putnam County Commission adopted the budget for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2021. The budget included General Fund expenditures of $21,232,493. These expenditures are around $700,000 less than the sum which the Commission originally budgeted for the current fiscal year.

The reduced budget was necessitated by a lower than projected property tax collections. County Manager Jeremy Young said that collections were $178,743 below expectations because of reduced inventories resulting from the Covid pandemic. He stated that he expects collections to rebound in the coming year. He reported increases in collections of $25,000 in both property transfer taxes and wine and liquor taxes.

Young projected that the county have carryover sufficient to meet expenses until property tax revenue begins to roll in September. He told the Commission that the jail bill was lower than budgeted because there were fewer incarcerated due to Covid ( a $500,000 savings). He said the savings has made $100,000 available to fund the rehab of property and for $100,000 to be placed in the county’s Rainy Day Fund. Young also reported that necessary dollars have been budgeted for hiring a new director and planner for the Office of Planning and Infrastructure. The budget includes an average of 2.5% pay increases for county offices. He stated that the raises will not be the same for all departments.

Young said that the levy rate for 2021-2022 will be unchanged from last year.

In other business, the Commission voted to enter into contract negotiations for the design of a county fiberoptic network with Alpha Technologies and S and S Engineers.

The Commission appointed John Smoot and John Swisher to fill in vacant positions on the Dilapidated and Abandoned Enforcement Agency (DAEA).

The Commission accepted DAEA five complaints and, after finding probable cause, directed the property owners of 114 Marina Park, 109 Maplewood Estates, 382 Scott Lane, 124 Marina Park, and 2 Bernard Circle to correct the conditions cited.

In a separate DAEA matter, the Commission determined that all property owners of 2793 Peach Ridge Road had not been properly notified of the DAEA complaint and directed the DAEA to make proper notification.

The Commission approved a budget revision to reduce full time employee wages by $20,000 and increase professional services by $20,000. The revision allows the employment of an interim director for Planning. Larry Frye was appointed as interim director effective March 19, 2021.

The Commission recognized Teays Valley Church of God for service to the community during the prolonged power outage. The church served as warming center on February 16 and 17 as Valley Park lacked electric power. The church also provided food for warming center visitors.

Deerfield Estates residents addressed the Commission concerning the failure of West Virginia American Water to extend water service to homes located at the higher elevations of the subdivision. The Commission voted to have Deerfield added to the county’s Water Feasibility Study.

Thomas Allen of 118 LaRue Lane, Hurricane, addressed the Commission concerning fireworks, loud music, and gun shots from several residences on LaRue Lane. Sheriff’s Department has investigated the ongoing incidents and informed the Commission that the noise and fireworks appear to be set off for purposes of harassment and intimidation. Commission responded with a promise to place a fireworks and noise ordinance on the agenda of a future meeting.

The next Commission meeting is Tuesday, April 13, at 9:30 a.m.

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