The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

March 23, 2013

Fayette County

Commission approves $9.9 million budget

FAYETTEVILLE — Nearly all budget increases in this year’s general fund budget for Fayette County can be traced to drug addiction and drug-related crime, officials say.

County commissioners approved the new budget Friday, which increases by 5 percent to a total of $9,927,799.

“We have to make known the tremendous cost to Fayette County of the drug issue,” said Commission President Matthew Wender.

“I think it’s very unfortunate that a county the size of Fayette spends as much as we do on the drug issue. I think about how many good things we could be doing for the citizens of Fayette County if it wasn’t for the cost of this incurable problem.”

Three new positions will be created at the county level —  new assistant prosecutor, a secretary for that prosecutor and a new secretary for the Sheriff’s Department.

Officials say the need for these positions — with salaries totaling $164,300 — is driven by the increase in the criminal caseload related to drugs.

Fayette County Prosecuting Attorney Carl Harris has said on many occasions that at least 95 percent of the criminal cases that come through his office can be traced back to illegal drugs.

The regional jail bill will also increase by $200,000 to $1 million, though Wender says he also expects this year’s jail bill to exceed the current budgeted amount.

Fayette County Sheriff Steve Kessler said in his department, longevity pay for deputies and an increase in overtime, uniform allowances and supplies account for a $25,181 jump in the budget.

Though the law enforcement and criminal prosecution agencies received a boost, there are no budget increases this year for treatment or prevention programs.

A net increase in benefits and additional overtime at the County Clerk’s office accounts for the remaining $40,463 in budget increases this year.

The general fund budget did not include any significant cuts.

The coal severance side of the budget will increase by 1 percent over last year, though coal severance revenues have decreased by 14 percent. A carry-over balance from last year allows the fund to stay fairly steady.

Coal severance line items — which are paid for by a portion of statewide coal severance tax revenues and must be used for “public purposes” — total $892,939 this year.

Significant increases include $10,000 for a new farmer’s market in Oak Hill, a $27,000 budget overrun for a new animal shelter, $3,000 in other non-operating expenses, a $41,000 match for the Meadow River Rail Trail grant and $16,500 for Citizens Conservation Corps volunteer projects in coordination with the Boy Scouts of America.

The fire ($1,753,040), law enforcement ($1,171,922) and library ($518,164) levies this year total $3.4 million.

The budget approved on Friday is not final. It will be sent to the state auditor for review and potential adjustments. The county will lay its levy in April.

— E-mail:


Text Only
Latest News
  • Sunflower 1 Unique sunflower

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • How much will annexation cost?

    City of Beckley officials say annexation would provide many benefits to outlying residents, but exactly how much would annexation cost?

    July 28, 2014

  • Not in my backyard: U.S. sending fossil fuel abroad

    As the Obama administration weans the U.S. off dirty fuels blamed for global warming, energy companies have been sending more of America’s unwanted energy leftovers to other parts of the world where they could create even more pollution.

    July 28, 2014

  • Greenbrier PSD officials worried about State Fair tunnel project

    Plans to raise a section of U.S. 219 and construct a tunnel underneath for the passage of State Fair pedestrians provided a hot topic for discussion at Friday’s meeting of the Greenbrier Public Service District No. 1 board.

    July 28, 2014

  • Beckley man places second in three-day world horseshoe tourney in Buffalo, N.Y.

    One Beckley man knows a thing or two about pitching a horseshoe. He’s been throwing for decades and he’s been to a handful of world tournaments. Recently he placed second in the 2014 World Horseshoe Pitching Tournament.

    July 28, 2014

  • saints garb new Saintly garb

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • tunnel flow Tunnel reopens after fire

    Traffic on Interstate 77 was still backed up about 14 miles in Bland County, Va., Saturday evening, but the Virginia Department of Transportation reported at about 6 p.m. that both northbound lanes of I-77 through East River Mountain were open to traffic.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • tunnel firefighters Bluefield firefighters first ones on the scene

    Lights in the southern end of the tunnel illuminate an odd design beside the catwalk near the left lane of the northbound tube of the East River Mountain Tunnel that transports I-77 from Virginia into West Virginia. Two firefighters who made the initial assault through the total darkness of the soot and smoke-filled tunnel left those marks as they slid their arms along the catwalk wall on their journey back to the light.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Internet service providers talk shop at Broadband Summit

    Call it the Internet 101.

    West Virginia’s Internet service providers, with the help of Mike Holstine, explained how end-users in homes and businesses get the Internet, how and why they use it and the benefits of having high-speed Internet for everybody. 


    July 27, 2014

  • tunnel Fire closes I-77 for hours

    East River Mountain Tunnel was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel that ignited just after 3 p.m.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo