ELKINS - The Randolph County Commission approved an $8.38 million budget Wednesday which allows for a new sheriff's deputy and police cruiser, as well as a donation to the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA pool renovation effort.
The commission balanced county revenues and expenditures at $8,380,370 for fiscal year 2014-2015, up from the $8,299,260 total for fiscal year 2013-2014. Despite the increased budget, Commission President Chris See said he believes the county levy rate will remain at 14.24 percent, the same as in recent years.
"I think we will be able to keep that (the levy rate) the same," See said. "It looks like we have a very fiscally responsible budget."
Commissioner Mike Taylor added, "If taxes go up, it is because of a rise in assessed land value, not tax rates."
The budget includes a 2-percent salary increase for county employees, the addition of a part-time intern for the judge's office, and money allocated to the health department and volunteer fire departments.
See said that most line items stayed the same or decreased slightly from last year's budget figures.
The Sheriff's office received the biggest increase in order to bring on the new deputy and new cruiser and so the agency can supply around the clock services to the people of Randolph County.
"The new deputy and cruiser is our biggest increase," See said. "I think the 24/7 coverage will be important to the people of Randolph County."
The commission budgeted $977,762 for the law enforcement division of the sheriff's office, up $108,778 from fiscal year 2013-2014, a copy of the county's budget shows.
Sheriff Mark Brady said of the increase, "We work for the people of this county to serve them but also strive to maintain a fiscally sound budget."
The commission donated $50,000 to the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA pool renovation project.
"(YMCA Executive Director) Sid Gillispie asked for help from commission," See said. "All Randolph County youth can use the pool at no expense as part of the deal."
Randolph County is also receiving $490,000 in federal government funding, known as property in lieu of taxes, which is mainly allocated for National Forest land. Randolph County receives the second most of this type of funding of any county in the state, behind Pocahontas County.
Taylor said, "This is not guaranteed funding so we are very fortunate. If we were to lose this funding, big cuts would have to be made."
Commissioners said they were pleased with this year's budget and the fiscal responsibility shown across the board by the county's elected officials.
"All in all the budget is pretty similar to last year in both expenditures and revenues. Hardly anybody's budget has increased and that makes our jobs easier," See said. "This process is easier when everyone is working together because it takes a lot of time and cooperation."