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Commissioners transfer $12,500 into Sheriff's Department budget

by Paul Darst

STAFF WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Harrison County Commissioners Monday moved an additional $12,500 into Sheriff Jim Jack's overtime budget.

The move comes with 93 percent of the overtime funds depleted and four months left in this fiscal year.

Several factors made the transfer of funds necessary, Jack told commissioners Beth Taylor and Roger Diaz.

"One reason is that we're having more arrests," he said. "More arrests means more days deputies have to be in court. We don't have enough staff to give comp time.

"Also, in recent years, it seems that there have been more court dates per case."

Additionally, this year the department was required to provide another bailiff for the circuit court system and the family lawmaster court.

The result is more overtime for deputies on patrol.

Last year, former sheriff Wayne Godwin asked for $35,000 for the overtime budget. Commissioners approved $25,000, based on previous years, however.

This year, Jack, who is working on his budget for next year, plans to ask for $35,000 once again, he said.

Also during the meeting, Jack and Harrison County Corrections Chief Paul Knotts discussed possible uses for the jail, which will close this summer when the North Central Regional Jail opens.

Knotts said he has contacted the U.S. Marshal Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and other law enforcement agencies who have indicated interest in housing prisoners in the jail.

Those agencies presumably would pay the county a fee to house prisoners there. With enough inmates, the county could make money.

But Knotts said that none of the agencies would sign a contract guaranteeing a certain number of inmates, he said.

U.S. District Marshal Joe Trupo has said he cannot enter into such a contract with the county.

Taylor, who heads a committee charged with finding a new use for the jail, said the prospect for using the facility as a place to house federal inmates is dim.

Diaz agreed that Taylor's committee should continue to explore the possibility of using the jail as an archive where governmental agencies can store records.

In other action, commissioners chose to not fill the Planning Commission Board of Directors seat once occupied by Clarksburg businessman Dominick Policano, who was killed in a traffic accident last month.

The commission had wanted to reduce the number of seats on the commission and decided that not filling Policano's seat would serve that purpose and be a way of honoring a man who served on the board since its inception.

Staff writer Paul Darst can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at pdarst@exponent-telegram.com.

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