Wheeling Budget Proposed; Rights Commission funds would be cut to 7K

WHEELING – City Manager Robert Herron distributed a $30.64 million budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year to City Council this morning. The $30.64 million budget proposal represents a 2.5-percent increase over the $29.89 million budget approved last year.

Some of that increase is attributable to a $218,580 increase in employee health insurance costs and a required 7-percent increase to the city’s annual contribution to its police and fire pension funds that will cost $235,000.

Herron also discussed the city’s proposed budget for federal Community Development Block Grant funds. He said the city can expect an 8-percent reduction in its allocation this year, received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The biggest change from last year is a reduction in funding for the Human Rights Commission, which in recent years has received its entire budget from CDBG. Herron is proposing just $7,000 in funding for the commission, down from the $66,000 it received for this fiscal year.

City officials have said they do not plan to dissolve the volunteer commission. However, if council approves the CDBG budget as presented, it would mean the elimination of Executive Director Theresa Garrett’s job. She is the commission’s only current paid employee.

More details in tomorrow’s edition of The Intelligencer.