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$1,700 Chairs Requested

911 director says they’re needed for long-term sitting

February 20, 2014
By SHELLEY HANSON Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MOUNDSVILLE - Office chairs that cost $1,700 apiece and an estimated $197,000 disaster response vehicle are among the items Marshall County's department heads are looking to fund during fiscal year 2014-15.

Those requests and more were made this week during budget hearings before Marshall County Commissioners Don Mason, Brian Schambach and Robert Miller Jr.

Schambach said the budget will be similar to this year's, which totaled $12.782 million.

Article Photos

Photo by Shelley Hanson
Marshall County 911 Director Larry Newell presents his budget Tuesday during a Marshall County Commission meeting.

"It will be close. ... We don't know a lot until the department heads present their budgets to us," he said, adding the county likely will see an increase in revenues because of an increase in land values.

Those presenting budgets included Assessor Chris Kessler, Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Cramer, Office of Emergency Services Director Tom Hart, 911 Director Larry Newell and Circuit Clerk David Ealy.

Newell said his budget totals about $363,000. Among his requests were funding for wireless headsets - if he can find a vendor to work with, he said.

"Invariably the wire is never long enough," Newell said, noting as operators reach for items their headsets often fall off their heads.

Newell said new chairs also are needed for his operators.

"These chairs average about $1,700 a hit. Because they have to be used 24/7 and they have to meet certain requirements," Newell said.

"That is the biggest whining, complaining part of any 911 center: the chairs are never right. They like them, they don't like them. They start out liking them and then they hate them. You have to realize, you're in them for eight hours a day and eventually you get tired of them," Newell added.

Newell said other office chairs do not come with a warranty because they are not designed to withstand the type of use seen at a 911 center.

Meanwhile, Hart requested funding to create a new position: a full-time emergency planning officer, who would coordinate communication between the OES and gas and oil companies, churches, the American Red Cross and more.

The officer also would help with maintenance of equipment. Hart also requested an estimated $197,000 for a new OES vehicle to replace the existing one - a 20-year-old former ambulance. No new communications equipment is needed and can be transferred to a new vehicle.

Additional budget hearings for outside agencies, such as the Marshall County Sewerage District, the Marshall County Senior Center, the Solid Waste Authority, the Marshall County Planning Commission, Wheeling Health Right, Family Service of the Upper Ohio Valley, Marshall County Health Department, are set for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, more budget hearings are slated for the Marshall County Airport Authority, the Marshall County Animal Shelter, Grand Vue Park, Marshall County Public Library, Marshall County Fair Board, Marshall County Fire Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ohio Valley and West Virginia University Extension Center.

Schambach said the county annually funds outside agencies because they help Marshall County residents.

"We are blessed and fortunate to have coal severance tax money," Schambach said. "A lot of funds for the agencies and services comes from coal severance tax."

County Administrator Betsy Frohnapfel said not just any agency can apply for budgeted funds.

"These organizations have been funded by the commission for many years," she said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated. The original version incorrectly stated that Marshall County Assessor Chris Kessler asked commissioners for a $22,000 raise for a deputy assessor. His budget actually stated that it includes "an increase from the previous year of $22,000 for the deputy assessor position filled in September 2013." Kessler said he has requested no additional funds for the upcoming fiscal year.

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