911 Center Seeks Pay Raises

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Updated: 03/11/2013 6:00 P.M.

Besides handling tons of calls, the Wood County 911 center says it managed to save money.

But its director told the county commission Monday it would like to use some of that money for pay raises.

That, he says, is especially true for the assistant director, who is paid far less than similar officials in other counties.

If it's approved, Carl Sizemore would make an additional $1300 a year.

"He's done more work than the last director was expected to do," Lowe told the commission. "He is now flood-plain trained. He was there pretty much 24 hours a day during the derecho. He does not receive overtime, so whatever his salary is is what it is. He's very dedicated."

Lowe adds that, if Sizemore gets the increase, his salary would still be below those in other West Virginia counties in the same position.

Lowe notes that, in the eight years he's been director, he's had few employees leave the center.

That's partly due to pay, but also because of working conditions there.


Updated: 03/08/2013 7:00 P.M.

Wood County's commissioners Friday got down to work on the county's budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Commission President Wayne Dunn says that, while revenues aren't expected to be larger than they are now, he's confident there will be a carryover of some funds from the current budget year.

And while commissioners say they plan to hold the funding line, they add the county has needs: notably more document storage space.

"If we don't have money put back in the building fund, if a large emergency were to occur," Dunn says, "if we don't have money put back in an emergency fund, we're hurting and we're being very irresponsible."

The budget has to be completed by the end of this month.

The commission plans further work on the spending plan at its Monday meeting.


Updated: 03/07/2013 7:30 P.M.

The Humane Society of Parkersburg wants a 10% increase in its upcoming county contribution, after not seeking and not getting an increase for the current year. But its director was told Thursday that's unlikely.

"For us to say you will get an increase, I doubt that will happen," Commissioner Steve Gainer Thursday told Executive Director Maryann Hollis. "If we don't give you that increase, will our service stay the same as it does now?"

"That will up to our board," Hollis responded. "I can't comment on that, that's a board decision."

While the humane society is known for its animal control practices involving dogs, nearly half of its services involve cats, the latter service not being state-mandated. And the cat control is for the entire county, including municipalities.

Commissioner Blair Couch would like to see cities share in the costs, but admits any discussions about that are down the road.

In the meantime, the county anticipates it will get the same $19 million in revenues it's getting now, for the fiscal year which begins in July. Couch says it doesn't have a lot of options when it comes to increasing that revenue.

"We can raise property taxes, we can increase the levy rate," he told Hollis. "That's well within our powers as commissioners. We can't put a 1% payroll tax on people; we certainly can't put on a user fee. But we're at the point now where we're going to have hard decisions, and that's either going to be raise taxes across the board or cut services."

Commission President Wayne Dunn says a property tax increase this year is unlikely. Dunn says the commission has so far been able to save money through management and government efficiency.

The commission is also considering the possibility of naming a bridge for fallen soldier nick null.

One reccommendation is for the Blennerhassett bridge to be renamed.

But Commission President Wayne Dunn says it instead would like to see an agreement with the city of Parkersburg, to rename the Fifth Street bridge.

Dunn says doing so would not require the consent of the state.

Null died in Afghanistan in August of 2011.

The Parkersburg Humane Society Monday told the commission it could be close to a groundbreaking for a long-awaited spay and neuter clinic.

For right now, however, it's asking for a 10% increase in funding, for the fiscal year which begins in July.

"The request is for fiscal year 2013-2014," says Executive Director Maryann Hollis. "You have to remember, we didn't ask for any sort of an increase last year, and our costs have gone up significantly. So we do need to come and ask for an increase this year."

The commission also heard a funding request for this year's Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival.

Organizers said the festival takes donations, but doesn't have a donation booth at the gate, out of concerns it might turn some people away.

This year's festival, for which admission is free, takes place June 21st through the 23rd.

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