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Preston County officials pitch needs at work session

KINGWOOD — The Preston County Commission listened to the needs of some county officials at a work session Tuesday as it starts to gather information to decide how to spend the county’s remaining CARES money.

The money is for reimbursement of expenses such as administrative work, custodial work, law enforcement and health department costs, County Administrator Kathy Mace said. The county has $922,018.55 after sending about $19,000 to the health department. A previous figure given to the media was incorrect.

The requests are not the only ones that will be made to the commission. Mace said she expects many more. Commissioner Samantha Stone said she was sure there were others out there.

“We’ve never officially said bring us requests, send us requests,” Stone said. “And it’s very important to understand that and that’s why I felt the need that we needed to start beginning these work sessions and having these discussions.” 

Mace said it was just the beginning phase but the commission needed to know what requests it had so far.

The Preston County Sheriff’s Office sent a request for tasers and the supporting equipment needed for a total amount of $51,800 dollars. According to documents provided to The Dominion Post by Mace, the cost covers 20 TASER 7 weapons, 20 rechargeable batteries, a docking station, 20 holsters, 20 licenses for CEW’s, an admin license, a five year hardware warranty, and 100 live cartridges. It also includes a training frame. 

County Clerk Linda Huggins requested a total of $32,200 to cover supplies and personnel, mostly at the election center. In an email to Mace, she requested 25 tables, 50 chairs, blinds for the windows, a refrigerator, three desks, and a printer/scanner for the election center. She also asked for funds to hire a part-time person to help with labor at the election center and a part-time employee to help with scanning and back indexing in her office.

Preston County Office of Emergency Management/911 Duane Hamilton requested $176,573 for three new police pursuit vehicles. An additional $27,207.45 for the vehicles would come from central garage funding. In total, the vehicles and upfit will cost $203,774.10 for a 2.5% increase from the previous PPV purchased, Hamilton said in an email to Mace. 

Assessor Connie Ervin said she made a list of things her office needs but hasn’t purchased because she knows money is tight. 

“The first thing is our tablets that our appraisers take out and they use these tablets to look at properties from a distance so they don’t have to actually physically go walk the entire property. And they have been very valuable, they have been just irreplaceable,” Ervin said.

She also requested money for laptops to help alleviate congestion in her office during the busy times of the year by setting up outside under a canopy and $6,000 for change detection by comparing old and new aerial photographers. It detects improvements that might otherwise be missed.

Commissioner Dave Price said he thinks that could earn the money back. 

The commission also heard about a need for more storage space for records Circuit Clerk Lisa Leishman is legally required to keep for 75 years and a $400,000 proposal by Price to beef up the county’s EMS service. Both of those issues will be reported on in a future edition of The Dominion Post.

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