By Lyra Bordelon
During the Tuesday, March 9, meeting of the Greenbrier County Commission, each of the county’s departments presented a budget proposal to the commission.
Although most of the departments did not ask for a substantial change to their budgets, outside of a cost of living increase in salary for their employees, the presentations included a status update and general information about each department’s operations. This includes:
– The Greenbrier County Humane Society moved to an appointment-only system, which took a while for many residents to get used to. Approximately 400 dogs and 350 cats were surrendered over the past year, with a majority of dogs being strays, while cat surrenders were half strays and half owner surrenders. This year also markers the seven year anniversary of not euthanizing for space.
– The WVU 4H Extension has moved to mostly virtual settings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, missing the State Fair of West Virgina and other opportunities for interaction. However, the Courthouse Farmers Market continues, with Commission President Lowell Rose noting “it’s worked very well down there at the fairgrounds, other than fair week, which hopefully we’ll have this year. … Hopefully everything works well through this summer.”
– Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan thanked his officers, staff, and the staff of various emergency responder organizations for their “great job” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
– With a new system for the Greenbrier County Circuit Clerk’s office, the cost of electronics has been reduced by over $8,000. Although the salary increases take over that, the presentation also highlighted that due to the over 100 expected criminal cases to soon be indicted and the continued backlog of cases over the past year, the office is expected to be extremely busy in upcoming months.
– Greenbrier County Assessor Joe Darnell thanked the commissioners for the many precautions taken at the courthouse to protect workers from COVID-19.
– Greenbrier County 911 Center and Emergency Management Director Mike Honaker noted it “was a challenging task to develop” the budget this year. In a typical year, the 911 center receives around 25,000 calls – over the past 12 months, this has increased to over 30,000, due to a “significant increase in drug overdoses, domestic result, and suicides.” In addition, emergency responders are preparing to shift to a new technology system, greatly impacting how quickly they can respond to calls.
– During the presentation for the Greenbrier County Clerk Robin Loudermilk’s office, Rose said “In West Virginia, and especially in Greenbrier County, elections went extremely smoothly and extremely well. Robin and her group were on top of everything if issues popped out.”
– Presenting on behalf of the Health Department, Rose explained the pandemic is far from over, with vaccinations continuing and complemented their efforts.
Work on the budget is expected to begin on Wednesday, March 10.
In other business:
– Bids for the demolition of the old county jailhouse were opened. Rose explained “this is for demolition of the old jail building, in preparation of the addition on the end of our [courthouse]. We’re trying to get this down and out of the way before the contractors view that project.” The bids included prices for both the jail building and another building located north of the courthouse, ranging from 73,000 to about 98,000. Rose said “it would appear Lynch Construction has the low bid at $73,000. …We’ve got the four bids, we’ll look over those and make sure everybody has their paperwork in order.”
– A proclamation celebrating the 150th birthday of Summer County was approved by the commission.