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Putnam day-report center looks to expand

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Putnam County's Day Report Center needs to expand, the program's director told county commissioners on Tuesday.According to Jamey Hunt, director of the center, the agency has enough participants to justify more growth."We are going to increase our programming a little bit from this point on -- our domestic violence class is our biggest program, and we have so many in it that we're probably going to split it into two classes at the beginning of February," Hunt said. "It will cost a little more, but not a lot, and we require each offender to pay $10 per class per participant, so that helps."Hunt was one of four agency directors who gave their mid-year financial reports and projections on Tuesday. Commissioners asked for the financial updates every quarter, in an attempt to prevent financial collapses similar to the county's health department last summer.The Day Report Center runs on a yearly $225,000 community corrections grant from the state, plus about $206,000 in county funds.Hunt hopes the agency will be able to add an all-female domestic violence offender class in the near future. Teachers have already been trained to lead that class, he said.Hunt also said the county's new adult drug court has affected the Day Report Center, which is the county's primary means of outpatient treatment. The center has hired a therapist, and although the state Supreme Court will reimburse the center for her salary, Hunt thinks demand will increase enough that the center will need to find office space for her outside the county's judicial building."There is space available up the street that would work beautifully, and we're looking at about $10,000 to $12,000 a year in an increase," Hunt said. "We will be requesting it through the state grant, as well." County libraries director Steve Christo said the libraries had fared well so far in the fiscal year, which ends June 30. He said the libraries will have to pay to upgrade or replace computers later this year, as Microsoft plans to stop supporting the Windows XP operating system."We've been proactive over the last three years and have been buying about two new computers a year, and we are getting ready to update some of the ones which can be updated," Christo said. "Some of our computers are eight to 10 years old, so they are not upgradeable."He said that next year, libraries will have to deal with the 7.5 percent budget cut that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has requested for all state agencies."That will affect our grants that we get from the state," Christo said. "It will amount to about $26,000, so that's $26,000 that we won't be getting next year."
According to county parks and recreation director Scott Williamson, his department is on track with its spending for the fiscal year, despite major damage to some park equipment and buildings during the second cold snap earlier this month."It all happened right at the same time that we were trying to open everything up so that people could take showers during the water emergency, so that was going on across the parking lot," Williamson said.Williamson said plans to upgrade the Valley Park Wave Pool are in the works, but have been delayed -- the agency's request for tax-increment financing has been submitted to the state, but is still under review.
"The application for TIF funds has gone through but hasn't been formally approved, so he can't spend that money until it has been approved," said Commissioner Andy Skidmore. "We thought we would have it by now, so we're going to have to follow up."Skidmore said there was still opportunity for work on the pool to be completed this year, but approval for TIF funding would need to come through within the next month."If we don't have it by the end of February, then we might be in trouble, but we still have another month," he said.The county's health department is now fully staffed, according to interim director Lolita Kirk, and the county board of health is preparing to pay vendors, although Kirk said vendors wouldn't get all of their outstanding bills paid this year."There are vaccine suppliers and medical suppliers that are still owed funds," Kirk said. "Most vendors understand that the board just doesn't have the money yet, and there are certain obligations that take precedent."One of the health department's creditors is Charleston attorney Karen Miller, who represented the agency in one of its wrongful termination suits against former employee Barbara Koblinksy. According to Kirk, Koblinsky's restitution has been settled, and she will be paid before Miller.
County Clerk Brian Wood also discussed the candidates for the county's upcoming primary election. County Commission President Steve Andes is up for re-election and faces fellow Republican Jerry Dials.There are three candidates for family court judge, including current judge Deloris Nibert, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court to the post after former judge William Watkins resigned. Republican Richard Witt of Red House and Democrat David Hill of Hurricane also filed for the job.Candidates for the county Board of Education include incumbents Craig Spicer of Hurricane, William "Butch" Legg of Poca and Rob Cunningham of Winfield, as well as Diana McCallister of Hurricane.Reach Lydia Nuzum at or 304-348-5189.
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