KINGWOOD — Budget and the COVID-19 virus were the main topics of discussion at the Thursday meeting of the Preston County Commission.
Commission President Samantha Stone said tax revenue has been slightly declining over the past years.
“We have to work within our means,” she said, when discussing the county’s proposed $8,429,531 budget.
The budget would cut $23,057 in funding to the Preston County Health Department and eliminate the $2,250 per year it gives each of the county’s 12 volunteer fire departments. It would also eliminate its $22,700 donation to the Preston County Economic Development Authority.
When contacted, V.J. Davis, director of the Preston County Health Department, said he doesn’t know what the impact of losing the funds will be.
“When you loose $23,000, it has an impact,” Davis said. “We get money from the state and from grants. Until I get a look at what is coming in and what’s going out, I wont know what the impact will be.”
He said he does not believe it will result in laying off employees or cutting back hours.
“We appreciate the Commission giving us a place to stay and for paying our utilities,” Davis said. “They are still contributing to us.”
Earlier, The Dominion Post reported that up until 2016-17, the county funded the health department at a higher rate. In that fiscal year, commissioners cut the health department’s $36,742 allocation of the previous year by $6,000, after the board of health implemented a countywide smoking ban.
Coronavirus in Preston
During his meeting with the Commission, Davis said, contrary to reports, Preston County does not have a second confirmed case of coronavirus.
He said an individual has been confirmed positive who has a permanent address in Preston County, but he or she does not reside in the county.
Davis said a testing site has been set up at Preston Memorial Hospital for those who need to be tested for the virus. He said it’s a drive-through site and individuals do not have to get out of their vehicles to be tested. Hours for drive-through testing at the hospital are 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
He said those going to the site for tests will
be given information about self-quarantining for 14 days until the test results come back. Davis said test results are usually available in three to 10 days, depending on the lab the test is sent to and the workload.
He said individuals tested shouldn’t go to work, but spouses and other family members can. Davis said if a test comes back positive, that individual will be isolated in a room in his or her home, and all other family members will be quarantined for a 14-day period.
He said it is not necessary to use antibacterial soap for hand-washing. Regular soap works as well to prevent the virus.
In other business, the Preston County Commission will hold special sessions at 9 a.m. April 14 for updates, April 21 to set the levy, and April 28 for routine bill paying, payroll and other essentials, according to County Administrator Kathy Mace.