Cumberland Times-News

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March 28, 2014

Mineral budget down; county officials won’t be getting pay raise

KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County commissioners approved the 2014-2015 budget, which is $300,000 less than the current year’s budget, according to Commissioner Dr. Richard Lechliter.

The total projected revenue for the general fund for the 2014-2015 budget is $5,029,913.

“The budget is pretty much the same — it goes up and down depending on the federal and state grants we receive,” said Mike Bland, county coordinator.

There was about a $12,000 increase in real estate and property tax revenue, and a decrease of about $40,000 in coal severance tax is expected, according to Bland.  

All outside agencies that the county funds, including the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library, were funded at the same level they were last year, according to Lechliter. The Keyser Library is facing more than $10,000 in funding cuts for fiscal year 2014 because of a decision that the Keyser City Council made last year to only give the library $2,279, which would affect future state funding that requires a match.

Elected officials in Mineral County won’t be getting a pay raise despite Senate Bill 1005, which authorizes a salary increase for elected county officials.

“The pay raise is not included in our budget. There isn’t sufficient revenue whether it’s approved by the state or not,” said Bland.

A county’s revenue must have increased sufficiently to be able to cover the increased expenses caused by the pay raises, according to the bill.

Provided that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signs the pay raise bill, it will go into effect July 1 for elected officials who accept the pay raise by signing for it. Those who don’t sign for the pay raise won’t receive it, according to the bill. Once that person is re-elected to office, or a replacement is elected, however, the raise becomes automatic.

“We cannot, in good conscience, support a pay raise in any form for elected officials in Mineral County,” said the commissioners previously. “We commissioners understand that your elected officials have gone eight years without a raise and appreciate the sacrifices they have made and continue to make for our fellow citizens.”

Mineral County commissioners make just under $36,000 a year and the bill for the pay raises would increase their pay by a little less than $5,000 per year.

Regular employees who have been with the county for one to 20 years will see a slight increase in their pay like they have in past years, according to Lechliter.

The Mineral County Development Authority will see about $4,000 less this year from the county, which matches the state money that the authority receives. Last year, the authority received $35,000 from the county to meet the state match and this year they will be receiving $31,008, according to Bland.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at eblaisdell@times-news.com.

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