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Jail Bill: Wood County’s efforts should be replicated

“We are probably the only county in the state that has really attacked the jail bill like we have,” said Wood County Administrator Marty Seufer, during a County Commission meeting Monday.

During last week’s West Virginia Press Association Legislative Lookahead members of the media and officials from most of the rest of the state lamented the strain regional jail bills are putting on counties — and asked lawmakers to do something about it.

Here in Wood County, though it would certainly be nice if changes to the law took some of the financial burden off counties — or at least, did not end up placing a greater burden upon them — officials did not wait for help from Charleston to tackle the problem.

County Court Coordinator Pam Brust was hired in 2017, and got to work auditing the county’s jail bill. Her efforts over the past couple of years have yielded $356,655.70 returned to the county in credit memos.

For perspective, the average monthly jail bill has at some points over the past few years reached more than $200,000. That kind of money makes it easy for the bureaucrats in Charleston to overcharge a little here, a little there and hope no one notices.

Brust did.

Our 54 other counties might want to take note of Brust’s efforts, and do their best to replicate them.

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