By Bob Weaver|
"Nothing new has happened to pull Wirt County out of financial distress," said Wirt
Commission President Lention Offutt. The county is facing imminent problems
meeting its obligations, particularly with the opening of the North Central Regional
Jail in Doddridge County.
Steve Canterbury, Director of the Regional Jail Authority, said the new facility will be
accepting prisoners on August 1. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for July 24.
Wirt County will immediately loose a source of income, the housing of prisoners in its
local jail, and begin paying daily fees to the regional jail system. Offutt says the
situation will place Wirt in financial collapse. "We may have 60 days before the
impact is felt," he said.
Offutt and Wirt's other Commissioners have been exploring avenues to help keep the
county afloat. There may be some short term assistance from the legislature's Budget
Digest, which will be announced next week.
Wirt's Commissioners have sent a letter to the Wirt County Economic Development
Authority opposing their selling a section of the original poor farm known as the pallet
plant. Commissioner Robert Lowe said the flat land needs to be retained by the
county for possible development.
Lowe said a proposal has been made to turn the Palestine Fish Hatchery into a state
park. A meeting to explore the matter was canceled yesterday.