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BOE holds Special Meeting to Discuss Budget

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Mar 10, 2021

The Wetzel County Board of Education on March 2, 2021 held a special session to discuss the budget via YouTube from the BOE office. Board member Amy Cooley led in the Pledge of Allegiance and Board President Brian Price delivered the invocation. All members were present except Linda Fonner who was participating by phone. Price called meeting to order and turned the floor over to Treasurer Jeff Lancaster.

Lancaster began by stating the county has a carryover of 8.3 million (largest ever) dollars from the fiscal 2020 budget to be re-budgeted for 2021 projects. He said that 78 percent of the counties’ revenue comes from gas and oil taxes.

Lancaster said, in the year 2020 they had a 11 percent tax increase and the value for 2021 is an increase of one percent which will cost 1.5 million from the budget to pay taxes.

Treasurer Lancaster said he and staff directors had discussed different projects to use the carryover funds immediately.

The projects are as follows: Salaries for new employees of $495,000; Covid-19 needs; New Forklift for Tech Center; School cash for online use; Academic funds for GPS software; Laptop leases and professional development $150,000; Child nutrition; Hundred High School meat lab coolers with rail system; Replace HVAC systems at Hundred and Valley High Schools; New Heat pump at Valley High School; Fence and gate around Valley Field House.

Lancaster said that these projects will take approximately one million leaving7.3 million left over for other projects. But mentioned he would like to add 1.5 to the contingency fund leaving 6.3 million for the other projects moving forward.

Other budget items on the list were as follows: Lock-up the gas and diesel tanks across the county; Beautification programs at all the County schools and maintaining; Replacing the delivery van. Plus financial assistance to schools for the lost revenue from gate and concessions of $38,000; Long Drain School drainage repair of $25,000; Hundred High School new storage building for $10,000; New lockers for the new field houses at Hundred and Valley High Schools; Install new IP Security Cameras at all schools with New Martinsville School being first because of broken cameras for $210,000 total cost for the project to replace all schools.

Major projects include: Magnolia High School storage building replacement; New cafeteria at Magnolia High School; Paden City Elementary, an elevator, new gym, and cafeteria; Shortline School getting new HVAC system;Valley High School a new greenhouse and new signage at the school; Replacing doors and windows at the Tech Center for $122,000.

For approximately 5.7 million, a new bus garage at the Tech Center with some of the cost to be financed.

The Board gave the green light to proceed with all projects immediately.