Mon County Commission approves budget carryover

MORGANTOWN — The Monongalia County Commission approved a budget carryover totaling $10.4 million on Wednesday, bringing the county’s operating budget to $37,550,590.
Commissioner Sean Sikora explained the commission conservatively projected a carryover of $8 million, and incorporated that amount into the recent budget process, leaving just over $2.4 million to be programmed.
A majority of those funds, about $1.5 million, or 64 percent, will go into either contingencies ($783,096) or financial stabilization ($750,000).
Sikora noted that the county’s contingency fund is about 85 percent funded. He said a county can have a maximum of 10 percent of its overall budget in contingencies according to state code.
“That’s where we want to be. We want to fully fund our contingencies and have a fully funded rainy day fund,” Sikora said.
Financial stabilization is essentially another contingencies line item, but without an upper restriction.
Additionally, about 19.4 percent, or $366,713, of the $2.4 million has been earmarked for employee raises — $1,500 for full-time employees and $1,000 for part-time employees. Those raises were approved by the commission last month.
Another $300,000 will be placed in capital outlay for groundwork on the Monongalia County Extension Service and 4-H Center under construction at Mylan Park.
The remainder of the funds, about $108,110, will be spread among community events including scheduling at the Monongalia County Ballpark, the county fairs and Main Street Morgantown’s Celebration of America, among others.
Also included in the funds earmarked for community events is an amount not to exceed $15,000 for the hiring of The Novak Consulting Group in an attempt to increase collaboration between the county and municipalities.
The push to bring municipal and county leaders together has been a joint venture between Sikora and Morgantown Mayor Bill Kawecki.
Sikora said the hiring of a professional facilitator should aide in those efforts.
“I think it’s times like this, where there seems to be a lot of animosity between the municipal governments, between municipal governments and the county, between county governments and the state — it’s times like this that we need more communication, not less,” Sikora said.
It was explained that the county is covering the cost in an attempt to remove reasons for lack of participation in the October workshop.
The commission also approved a resolution and order extending the period of time available for the requisitioning of proceeds from tax increment revenue and refunding bonds, Series 2016 C, for the Maple Drive tax increment finance (TIF) district.
Tom Aman, the county’s bond counsel for the project, explained that Mon Health Medical Center paid for the work up front and is requesting reimbursement of roughly $2.1 million in a single requisition. In order to do so, however, an extension is needed.
After approving the extension the commission approved the $2,154,099.18 requisition.
The commission also approved the following requisitions:
No. 19 for the University Town Centre TIF district subaccount totaling $319,655.90 for repayment of bonds
No. 9 for the University Town Centre Special District Excise Tax Revenue, refunding and improvement bonds Series 2017 A, totaling $11,028.50
No. 3 for the Senior Tax Increment Revenue and Refunding Bonds, Series 2016 A and the Subordinate Tax Increment Revenue Bonds, Series 2016 B, totaling $8,145.
Lastly, the commission received a letter from Joan Webb, executive director of The Connecting Link, explaining that the agency will close its Morgantown office effective Aug. 1 and will return any grant funding approved by the county.

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