Preston County Commission freezes spending, requests state assistance


KINGWOOD, W.Va. – Preston County Commission has put a freeze on spending and asked the state for assistance amid the coronavirus outbreak.

According to a press release, beginning immediately, commission is putting a freeze on new hiring; all non-essential work related travel; all non-essential overtime in all departments; and all non-essential expenditures.

Additionally, commission said it will only be approving essential expenditures in payroll; maintenance and repair for buildings and grounds/equipment; custodial supplies; utilities; fuel/auto supplies; and contracted services for things like IT and maintenance; lease payments for vehicles; lease for space for early voting; and payment for election equipment.

Commission will handle requests for emergency spending needs on a case-by-case basis, according to the release.

To help the county navigate the uncertainty, it is changing the employment status of Kathy Mace, who agreed to suspend her retirement and return to full-time status as county administrator beginning May 1, the release stated. Until then, her status as interim county administrator will continue through April 30.

County commission is also asking for help from the state, specifically for its regional jail bill. It is asking for relief from the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which would allow commission to make payments on the jail bill for March, April, May and June, with the final payments to be made by December 31.

Commission also announced its plan to send a letter to Gov. Jim Justice to ask that the primary election be held by absentee voting only.

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