W. Va. — An audit may be the most surefire way to determine the best course of action ahead for repairing roads in Division of Highways District 4, according to State Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia.
“It was very clear to most of us in the room from the [county] commissioners that they want to know where this money is going to and how it’s being used,” said Beach. “So I think that we go ahead and ask for an audit for District 4 and move forward from there on that issue,” he said.
Even though an audit is expected to be the first course of action, another one that’s going to be expected is to find multiple sources of revenue in order to fund potentially extensive repairs commissioners say are needed in the north-central region.
County commissioners and state legislators met last week to discuss the condition of area roads and what can be done to fix them. This was the second such meeting initially set up by Preston County commissioners. Five of the six counties in District 4 have participated — Monongalia, Marion, Taylor, Doddridge and Preston. Harrison County has not.
“I don’t think the next step is, ‘Hey let’s start raising revenue.’ I think we need to examine where our revenue is going right now and how we can reappropriate that money more effectively,” Beach said.
A meeting with DOH District 4 Engineer Don Williams is scheduled for June 13 in Marion County. There, county commissioners and other representatives are hoping to get a full explanation of how the West Virginia Division of Highways divides up road funding it receives for District 4. This includes federal funds that comes from various grant sources, which is later matched on a local level.
“I think that’s what it’s going to take, just all of us, sitting down at the table with the (Division) of Highways and say ‘We are not happy with this,’” he said.
Beach said a levy is a possibility, but any action that allows for transparency into where road funds are going will be better received by the public.
“The more information we give the public, the more willing they are to jump on board and support a levy,” he said. “And if we’re not doing that as a state government, allowing these folks to understand where these dollars are being used, we’ll never get their support.”