Working strictly from a conservative income basis, the Greenbrier County Commission approved the county’s 2018/2019 fiscal year budget totaling $12,031,490 in a 211 vote during the Tuesday night commission meeting.
Commission President Woody Hanna said, “We were able to fund all the requests from the county’s elected officials, including one half of the prosecuting attorney’s new hire salary, the circuit clerk’s full-time hire and salary increases across the board by five-percent for all full-time county courthouse employees.” Left off that list were the 911 Center employees who received a three-percent raise, which balanced out the two-percent raise they got the previous year. The elected officials each received an extra $739 for the year. The 2018/2019 fiscal year budget was an increase of $4 79,909 over last year’s fiscal budget which totaled $11,551,581.
Commissioner Mike McClung, who cast the opposing vote, has maintained a nay vote for the county budget each year he has been in office as a protest against the Greenbrier County Humane Society’s $200,000 oversight costs to maintain the county animal shelter.
In other business:
- Jonathan Carpenter, representing the Thrasher Group, put in a request for sponsorship from the commissioners to support a Region 4 Planning and Development application to apply for a Small Cities Block Grant before a deadline at the end of the month. Carpenter said the Public Service District (PSD) is interested in establishing a water line project between Rainelle and Charmco with the PSD #2 to provide the water.
This project, which was not included in the Sam Black water project, had Carpenter and McClung exchanging a difference of opinion on why that was the case. “That boat’s done sailed,” said Hanna, closing down the discussion. Commissioner Lowell Rose said as far as he was concerned, “I want to see as many water sources connected as possible.” He allowed that there was “little guidance from an earlier commission when the Sam Black project was started.” He stated, “It would have been better if it had been done altogether as a single project.” He asked that Thrasher provide the commission with a view of the plans to hook up the systems. The commission will hold a Special Meeting on Friday, Mar. 30, at 2:30 p.m. to consider sponsoring the Small Cities Block Grant.
- Child and Youth Advocacy Center Executive Director Katherine Thompson announced that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. She requested to place pinwheels on the courthouse lawn for the week of Apr. 23-30. During that week, on Apr. 27, the Children’s Memorial Flag will be raised in a ceremony at noon, she said.
- Day Report Center Executive Director Laura Legg was approved to hire Sabrina Irving as a Peer Recovery Coach for the center. The grant-funded position requires that applicants must be in drug recovery themselves for three years, and, Legg said, the position has been difficult to fill. The job opening was originally posted last October, and out of over 40 applicants, only two were qualified for the position.
- Baldwin Excavation of Renick, whose bid at $266,384, was awarded to do the clearing and grubbing of tree stump debris for the county’s Sports-Plex. Baldwin was one of six local excavation companies that submitted bids for the project.
- Greenbrier County 911 Center Executive Director Al Whitaker requested the commission sign a proclamation declaring Apr. 8-14, as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
“Emergencies occur at any time, which require prompt responses from our police departments, firefighters and medical agencies. They are vital links that ensure public safety from criminal acts, outbreaks of fires and for maintaining healthful living in our communities,” he said.