At its meeting Tuesday, Tyler County Commissioners voted to pay $7,500 quarterly for a total cost of $30,000 a year in order to fund a state-mandated daily report center. Wetzel County, where the center will be located, has also agreed to pay a total amount of $30,000 a year.
The goal of the center is to ultimately save funds by giving those sentenced for crimes in drug court an alternate sentence. Instead of sending them to jail, which is reportedly more expensive for the county, those charged with low-level offenses may be ordered by a judge to adhere to strict check-ins and checkups. Cases would be reviewed on an individual basis.
"Jail is for people that A, are dangerous, and B, won't conform," said Prosecuting Attorney Luke Furbee. "The day report center concept is legally something we have to do. The circuit judges are going to have to start doing things differently because of changes in the law."
Fred McDonald, director of the Lee Day Report Center and executive director of the Northern Panhandle Community Criminal Justice Board, was present to discuss the new court system extension as well as payment options.
When Furbee asked him if the cost might be reduced in the future, McDonald said, "Theoretically it could."
"It's going to be mandated anyway," said Commission Vice President Eric Vincent. "We've got to get into the program to see how it's going to work."
In other news, audits for the fiscal years of 2011 and 2012 were ordered by the state, and the commission voted to approve both years for an approximate total cost of $44,000.
In regard to a loitering ordinance drafted by Furbee, the commissioners expressed mixed feelings about it. Furbee stated his primary reason for drafting the ordinance was because the town of Middlebourne has a loitering ordinance but no municipal officers to enforce it.
Commission President John Stender said that he would like a distinction between loitering and those simply sitting on the bench out front, and Furbee offered to reword the ordinance.
After reviewing prices presented by Sheriff Bob Kendle, the commission approved the Tyler County Sheriff's Department to purchase a new cruiser for $35,487. Also in sheriff's department news, they are receiving $1,141 in reimbursements from Highway Safety, pending the State Auditor's approval.
They accepted a bid of $22,940 from Coon Restoration to repair the loose plaster and drains on the courthouse's front balcony.
A contract was renewed with Pitney and Bowes for the postage machine service they provide the courthouse. Because the machine they currently use is malfunctioning, the company agreed to provide them with a new, updated machine.
The commissioners approved the appointing of Pam Porfeli to the Friendly Public Service District Board.
The commissioners declined an invitation to the West Virginia Counties Risk Pool Board Member Elections, which take place at the Wingate Hotel in Bridgeport, W.Va., citing that they had other engagements on that date and were not interested in joining the board.
Under his report, Commissioner Charles Smith expressed how impressed he was upon seeing the inflatable shelter purchases by the Office of Emergency Management.
Under his report, Vincent declared that this year's 4-H Camp was a huge success and complimented the work of Extension Agent Natasha Richardson. He also discussed the possibility of moving the family court office to the current extension office.
Assessor Jackson Hayes reported that the network cabling for the courthouse communications systems is on schedule.
Commission approved minutes of the July 18 regular meeting and the July 23 special meeting, the assessor's exonerations, the clerk's fiduciary report, and the paying of bills.