Commission doles out funds to agencies
County paying for system's flaws,ﾠSaffer says
County commissioners granted the budgetary wishes of three agencies-all of which deal with drug and alcohol abuse in some fashion-Tuesday to the tune of more than $40,000, but one commissioner said the cycle of funding has to have an end.
"We're spending a lot of money on one issue," said county commissioner Martin Saffer. "I want to turn off the faucet at the welfare department. It's just driving me crazy. That is the wellspring of part of this problem. We don't have the money to indulge that problem forever."
Saffer said that welfare recipients should be drug-tested before receiving monthly allocation. He noted that the taxpayers purchase prescription drugs for people on the system and that sometimes, those drugs are sold illegally, and abusers of those drugs cause the problems that CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the Family Refuge Center and the county's Prevention Coalition are trying to solve with taxpayer funds.
The commissioner said he knows that drug-testing is not popular-the ACLU, an organization to which Saffer belongs, has condemned the idea-but, he also said the country is "employing people to use drugs. I just don't get the logic of that."
Saffer reluctantly voted for the measure that funded CASA at $7,000. CASA works with children in the court system and reports to judges in this circuit; the Family Refuge Center at $10,000. The FRC houses abused women and children and provides safe visits; and the Prevention Coalition at $25,000. The coalition provides drug abuse prevention education to school children as young as fifth and sixth grade, as well as lock boxes for prescription drugs and education to retailers that sell tobacco and alcohol products.
In addition to those three agencies, commissioners funded Mountain Resource Conservation and Development with $1,000.
Tuesday was one of the commission's designated days to hear funding requests; commissioners will next hear requests November 8. About $97,000 remains in the funding pool and that must carry the commissioners' contributions through until the next fiscal year.
Saffer said the funding burden would continue "cascading toward us" because the federal government is cutting expenses with no new revenue sources and has just increased its debt ceiling.
"How long can local government take the place of state and federal government? The answer is not long," he said.
Commissioner Jamie Walker said that since he took office in January, all the numbers had "gone up," those for drug and alcohol abuse, domestic and sexual abuse, as well as the commensurate expenses.
"Next year, I'm expecting something to come down," he said.
In other business, commissioners:
ﾕagreed to put out for bid five tanks at East Fork Industrial Park. Local businessman Buster Varner said he is interested in purchasing three fiberglass tanks. Varner said he wants to move the tanks from the former tannery site, but did not say what purpose he has in mind for them, nor did he say where he will use them.
ﾕpurchased three aerial photographs from Greg Cromer. The photographs are of Marlinton, Hillsboro and Durbin, the county's three incorporated towns.
ﾕrevised the daily meal allotment for county employees.
ﾕdealt with air conditioning issues for the courtroom.
ﾕadvised James Crace to take his right-of-way complaint in Clover Lick to circuit court.
ﾕconvened in executive session to review applications for the 9-1-1 director position. Commissioners said they hoped to select three people to interview.
ﾕread with obvious dismay a letter from Forest Supervisor Clyde Thompson which said the US Forest Service has not taken a position on horizontal drilling and hydro-fracking in the Marcellus shale. Thompson wrote that 38 percent of the mineral rights under the Monongahela National Forest are privately owned, but that no policy against either horizontal drilling or hydro-fracking exists for the remainder.
ﾕheard from One Room University coordinator Elaine Diller that student registration has reached 15 and the ORU will likely have 20 students come August 22 when classes begin on the second floor of City National Bank.
The commission will meet again in regular session August 16 at 5 p.m.