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County Commission continues budget work

By Staff | Mar 16, 2012

CHARLES TOWN – With the deadline to submit an upcoming fiscal year budget to the state auditor’s office approaching at the end of March, the Jefferson County Commission continued work on its budget Tuesday afternoon.

After hearing from department heads and elected officials in the county’s government last week, the commission met Tuesday to begin discussion on allocation amounts to various departments.

Jefferson County Director of Financial Management Paul Shroyer presented the commission with a proposed balanced budget of approximately $25,688,909.

The county commission’s budget for the current fiscal year is approximately $22,993,938, and there’s an expected carryover of just more than $2 million in unencumbered funds – approximately $1.6 million of which would be placed in a capital outlay fund – from the current fiscal year to the next, according to Shroyer.

While the commission could not take action on any budget items during the work session, commissioners supported increasing the Jefferson County Development Authority’s budget by approximately $55,000 and providing $5,000 for JCDA Executive Director John Reisenweber to become a voting member on the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority.

The commission also could match up to $20,000 in funding to the JCDA if the county’s five municipalities combine to contribute that amount.

The commission wasn’t sure of what amount it will increase funding to the Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency because the JCESA is proposing a fire/emergency medical services fee.

Commissioner Lyn Widmyer, following the work session, said that while it’s good for the commission to have revenue and expenditure numbers to look at, she wants to see a list of benefits or services provided to Jefferson County residents by the money the commission spends.

“I would like to understand more of the services that the county is going to get for this budget, that the county residents are going to get,” Widmyer said. “We’re looking at page after page of numbers and there’s no services or programs or products associated with it.”

Stating what the County Commission and residents will get for the money the commission spends would help local residents better understand what their tax money is used for and would open the budget process to more interaction between the commission and citizens, according to Widmyer.

The County Commission will continue to work on its budget following a work session on county employees’ health plans and options on March 21.

The health plan work session is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the commission’s meeting room, located in the basement of the Charles Town Library at 200 E. Washington St., Charles Town.

Additional information on the county’s budget process is available by contacting the commission’s office at 304-728-3284.

– Staff writer Matt Armstrong can be reached at 304-725-6581, or marmstrong@journal-news.net