By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County Commission met Tuesday, Mar. 22, to discuss the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023.
Commissioner Tammy Tincher said the commission spent two weeks compiling and finalizing the budget presented at the meeting Tuesday morning, which comes out to upwards of $16 million. Commissioner Tincher commented during the presentation that, “the county is in a good place, we’ve been very conservative fiscally. And for that matter, we’re going to be very cautious going forward.”
Tincher went on to say that “we’re very aware of HJR3, which will be on the ballot coming up.” HJR 3, an amendment to the West Virginia Constitution, will be voted on by the electorate in November and would stipulate that “the Legislature shall have exclusive authority to establish the valuation, assessment value and classification of property in this state for purposes of ad valorem taxation, to fix maximum rates for the taxation thereof by the levying bodies, and to provide for the exemption thereof from taxation, fully or in part, all to be determined as provided by general law.”
She raised concerns with the resolution and its implications for county government. “There may be changes in how county government works in the future if this resolution passes.”
Items of note in the budget include a 6 percent pay increase for county deputy sheriffs, a 3 percent pay increase for all other county employees, a 10 percent pay increase for all elected officials, and the assumption by the county of a 5 percent rate increase by PEIA.
The increase for elected officials, Commissioner Tincher explained, “is not a normal occurrence, or something that is done every year.” The last pay increase for elected officials was 10 years ago, and accounts for an increase in the cost of living.
Speaking to the increase in payment to law enforcement officers, Commissioner Lowell Rose said, “This raise is something that addresses a problem in the law enforcement community from municipalities all the way up to the State Police; people are leaving for better pay in other departments or better careers. This raise will work towards making us more competitive.” In explanation of the PEIA rate increase assumption, Rose said that “we’re going to be paying that and taking that on so that our county employees can have more take-home on their checks.”