Pocahontas County Commission Approves 2010-11 Budget Despite Some Controversy
Marlinton, WV – The Pocahontas County Commission approved the county budget for fiscal year 2010-2011 during a special meeting on Thursday. But the budget process was not without controversy this year, including the amount of a pay raise for county employees and a contract with the Humane Society for the county animal shelter.
Commission President Martin Saffer says an anticipated decline in county revenue influenced their decisions regarding the budget. Saffer proposed a 50.00 per month raise for county employees, arguing it will reduce the burden on future county budgets. However, he was overruled by Commissioners Reta Griffith and David Fleming who voted for a 100.00 per month raise.
The other major obstacle to approving the budget at their meeting Thursday was the initial rejection by the PC Humane Society of the amount approved for the county animal shelter. A temporary shelter was established at the ARC building in Marlinton following the resignation of county animal control officer Sandy Mallow in December of 2009. Jl Clifton, speaking on behalf of the HS, says their decision to reject the budget was not an easy one.
ARC owners JP Duncan and John Fitzgerald offered to run the shelter, providing food, daily care for the animals, and covering other expenses for 4340.00 per month until the end of June. However that budget covers only 60.00 per day for the kennel keeper. They would like to increase that amount to 120.00 per day. Clifton argued to have the HS budget set up like any other courthouse office, with any unused funds returned to the county at the end of the fiscal year. Duncan says they are unwilling to accept that.
After further discussion, Griffith offered a reallocation of the Humane Society budget that would allow for $74,400.00 to cover expenses at the ARC shelter and 5,850.00 to cover veterinary bills and other expenses. Commissioner Fleming also suggests a Memorandum of Understanding between the HS and ARC specifying details of the contract for the shelter. The Commission approved the budget. They realize they may have to make modifications once the HS has had a chance to review the changes.