(12/04/2010)
Calhoun County's struggle to pay the regional jail bill is a paltry amount compared to many West Virginia counties, whose jail bill is in the millions of dollars.

County commissioners discussed the jail bill and other pressing financial problems facing the current budget year ending June 30, 2011 at a special meeting this week.

The commission's executive secretary Danielle Stevens said the jail bill could be $100,000 additional cost over budget through the end of the fiscal year.

The commission asked each elected official to provide an estimate of any shortfall they would have through June 30.

Commissioners said cut-backs could reach a critical threshold where offices could not deliver services, with new resources needed.

Elected officials agreed to a $5,000 cut in their budgets for this year, which was to have been restored by the commission if the county had funds.

That has not happened, and several county officials are now facing budget problems for postage, supplies and other services.

On the table is the idea of an operating levy directed toward payment of the jail bill, corrections, home confinement and other essential operating expenses.

An issue discussed was a conflict with the school bond scheduled for March, 2011.

Ideas regarding meeting shortfalls included a suggestion by Prosecuting Attorney Rocky Holmes to dispose of the county's law library, which may no longer be needed.

Holmes said he believes there is a problem with the assessments of county properties not meeting state code requirements of 60% of the properties value.

New resources will have to be found for the 2011-12 fiscal year, when a major money crisis is expected to happen.


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