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County officials tell commission their funding needs for year

by Gail Marsh

ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR

CLARKSBURG -- Harrison County commissioners spent most of their day-long session Monday learning how much money the county's five elected officials say they need to operate their departments for the upcoming fiscal year.

Today, the commissioners will begin the process of determining what the county can afford for the 2001-2002 year that begins July 1.

"The commission will sit down and determine what revenues will be and then will work with the expense side to see what can actually be funded," said Jim Harris, county administrator.

In order to stay fully staffed, the Harrison County Sheriff's Department must hire three more officers, Sheriff Jim Jack told commissioners. The officers are needed to cover the Third Circuit Courtroom, the Family Lawmaster's courtroom and to cover magistrate services. Salary requests for the sheriff's department total $1.24 million.

In addition, corrections has asked for $314,500, the same as last year, and the civil process department has requested $146,311. The tax division has requested $319,480, up from $285,513, which would cover a 5- percent salary increase and money for more technology.

Sylvia Basile, county clerk, presented the commission with a budget of $503,892, up from $446,266 for the current year. The request includes $50,000 to be put in reserve to be used for records imaging in the future, Basile said.

Donnie Kopp, circuit clerk, requested $313,600 for next year's budget, up from $296,939 this year. Because of the new family court bill, the circuit clerk's office now will be responsible for domestic violence petitions instead of magistrate court. Kopp has asked for money to hire an additional employee to handle the paperwork.

Prosecutor John Scott said his office will hire an additional prosecutor, but will do so from existing salary money. He requested $816,839, up from the current $799,931 to cover some additional travel and education expenses for his office.

Assessor Cheryl Romano said she will be looking at additional computer packages to help continue to automate the assessor's department. Her budget request came in at $787,239, up from this year's $681,106, which includes some merit salary increases.

The county commission must finalize the new budget by March 28 to send it to the state Auditor's Office in Charleston, Harris said.

In other business, commissioners swore in new Sheriff's Deputy Lucas Blair and promoted the following officers: Dep. Steve Johnson to sergeant; Sgt. Ray Martin to lieutenant, and Dep. Terry Blair to sergeant.

Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com.

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