Pay raise, funding requests discussed

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners may decide today on proposed employee pay raises and organization’s requests for funding from the ending balance.

The topics were on Monday’s agenda, but after consulting Clerk Jamie Six and learning there were still some outstanding questions and no definitive ending year balance numbers available at that time, the commissioners postponed any decisions. Six said the office hoped to have everything taken care of and numbers by today.

“There was a $2,000 check there was some question about it because it appeared it might be going to a private business,” Six noted.

In May, the commissioners agreed to donate $2,000 for the Chocolate Jazz Festival being held at the Fishbone restaurant in Vienna.

Six said the check issue had been turned over to the prosecutor for review and advice.

“We were just trying to avoid potential problems, questions from the auditor about a check being written to a private business or an individual,” said Mark Rhodes, deputy clerk.

In the meantime, Rhodes said officials with the festival had provided paperwork showing the group’s 501c3, nonprofit status for the festival and so the check would be made out to the festival.

During Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Blair Couch noted he was unaware the donation check had been withheld, and asked his fellow commissioners if they were aware the check had not been issued.

“The city of Vienna gave the festival $10,000,” Couch said.

Six also noted a question about reimbursement funds from the Day Report Center.

“We have had a meeting with everyone involved since, apparently it was just a difference in terminology. They were saying the money went to the county so it should have shown up in the general county fund, but actually it was in the DRC fund. These were fees collected through the DRC,” Rhodes said, noting the issue has now been cleared up and officials were confident they could provide the county commission with final ending balance numbers on Thursday.

In May local musician David Wells and Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp asked the commission for support in developing a new music festival in Vienna. The inaugural Vienna Jazz Festival is planned for Aug. 24 at the Fishbone Grill.

At the time of the meeting, Commissioner Steve Gainer said he was concerned about providing public money for an event at a private business. Organizers said they were working to move it to a public venue in the future, such as one of Vienna’s parks, but an outdoor stage would need to be set up, and the Fishbone has an existing outdoor stage area.

As for the proposed pay raises, Six earlier told the commissioners there were adequate funds from additional fee revenue in the budget to give employees a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise, which would cost about $180,644. Commissioner Couch had commented during the earlier meeting he would rather see an attempt to equalize salaries for similar jobs rather than giving an across-the-board raise.

There are also 16 pending requests before the commission from outside agencies seeking funds totaling more than $100,000.