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Commission tries to divvy up surplus

by Jennifer Biller

STAFF WRITER

The Harrison County Commission does not have enough money in the county fund balance to cover all the requests for assistance received from various agencies.

The commission spent Thursday deciding what to do with $1,070,957 in surplus left over from last year's budget.

"We don't have a lot of money left," said President Roger Diaz. "This is an atypical year because of the courthouse renovations."

Commissioners approved $28,000 to the Bi-County Nutrition, which offers the meals on wheels program, $20,000 to the city of Shinnston toward its recreation facility and $2,000 to the Shinns Run C.E.O.S. Club for constructing stairs in the meeting hall.

There were additional requests not approved, including $25,000 for the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department to assist with moving expenses. But that request has not been ruled out, Diaz said.

"We made an offer to the health department when they were making their move to help with moving expenses, and if the funds are available we intend to help them," he said.

Other requests not granted include $5,000 for improvements to the East View Community Center and $147,817 for the Public Safety Complex in Nutter Fort to pay off a long-term debt.

The decision on which agencies receive money is based on which ones have received assistance from the county recently, or in the last year, Diaz said.

"We try to allocate it fairly, but the requests for funds always exceed the money we have," he said. "So we help some this year and some in the following years."

Commissioners also designated $181,652 to pay for a 3 percent pay raise for county employees and allocated $365,961 into a contingency fund to pay for things that come up outside of the budget like the $25,000 estimated cost for reprinting November election ballots to include candidate Ralph Nader.

The remaining $473,344 has been earmarked into a fund to pay for courthouse renovations. The total estimated cost for renovations, including the sidewalk construction, is $430,000.

That leaves just $43,344 remaining to pay for any additional expenses the construction warrants.

Once construction is completed in December and the renovations are paid for, commissioners will consider the other requests for aid.

The commission meets again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Harrison County Courthouse.

Staff writer Jennifer Biller can be reached at 626-1449 or jbiller@exponent-telegram.com.

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