At its March 14th meeting, the Putnam County Commission heard budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year from the Sheriff, the County Clerk, the Assessor, and the Prosecuting Attorney. The county’s budget must be submitted to the State before the end of March.
Sheriff Bobbie Eggleton asked for an increase sufficient to allow him to hire five additional deputies and to fund a program which would address deputy retention. Eggleton stated that the increase was necessitated by Putnam’s growth. The Sheriff reported that law enforcement in Kanawha County is giving out $15,000 signing bonuses to address retention needs. “We’re going to have to do something,” Eggleton said.
Commission president Andy Skidmore responded, “I meant to say this before you came up. Just for a basis, our initial numbers from what we have received from the Assessor’s Office from the increase in real estate tax and the requests that have been put in, we are about a million and a half short of all the requests.” Skidmore added that the Commission has difficult funding decisions and that the Commission is aware of the Sheriff Department’s need.
At its meeting on February 28, the Commission heard budget requests from Libraries, the Putnam County Health Department, Putnam County Fair, Parks & Recreation, County Day Report, WVU Extension Service, the Development Authority, and the Solid Waste Authority.
County Clerk Brian Wood asked for increases that would offset the increase in PEIA premiums to his staff and reduce the loss of purchasing caused by increased costs. Wood said that next year’s Presidential Election would require additional funding.
Assessor Gary Warner requested a base pay for his employees. Warner said that the present starting pay of $11.50 per hour is too low to interest applicants. Warner asked for an increase to $13 per hour for starting pay and an overall pay increase of five percent.
Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia asked for a $70,000 increase to allow him to add another attorney. Sorsaia said that the Magistrate Court case load is requiring his attorneys to put in 10 to 12-hour days on Wednesdays.
The heard, but did not act upon, a request by Judith Pauley to hire a veterinarian for the Putnam County Animal Shelter.
In other business, the Commission appointed Jacob Pack and Heather Davis to the Putnam County Planning Commission and re-appointed Bryan Hoylman and Dave Hobba to the Planning Commission. Commission Steve Deweese voted to oppose Hobba’s re-appointment. A motion to re-appoint Jason Asbury to the Planning Commission failed for lack of a second.
Commissioner Brian Ellis announced that construction of the new Sheriff’s facility is expected to be completed in late June or early July.
The next scheduled county commission meeting will be Tuesday, March 30.