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Welcome to CCAWV

Our mission is to "maintain a statewide agency for the purpose of promoting the interest and general welfare of local county government through a variety of communication tools; to represent county government before the West Virginia Legislature, administrative agencies, and the federal government; to educate the public about the value and need for county programs and services; and to facilitate the exchange of problems, ideas and solutions among county officials."

Over 50 counties were represented by some 125 County Commissioners & Staff at the recent CCA Legislative Association Meeting held February 24-26, 2013 at the Charleston Marriott. At the Legislative meeting Monday the attendees heard from John Stump, Steptoe & Johnson regarding TIF and Public/Private Partnerships. Perry Bryant, WVAHC gave an update on the Federal Affordable Care Act. Mark Muchow, Deputy Cabinet Secretary, WV Department of Revenue presented a Financial Forecast for the State and Local Governments.

CCAWV has completed their Annual Regional Roundtable Meetings and is getting ready for the 2013 Legislative Session. Vivian was on the road most of November and December meeting with county commissioners and legislators to promote our 2013 Legislative Platform, which centers around regional jail cost containment issues.

We discussed CCA's support for new methodologies for collecting current outstanding court costs and how increased collections alone could help county budgets as well as the Regional Jail Authority and other state agencies and programs that receive a portion of these court cost collections. We also explained CCAWV's support for legislation that would require sharing of jail costs among all arresting entities. We feel by requiring the arresting officer's entity to pay the first day's per diem, everyone has "skin-in-the-game" and that will lead to better administrative decisions on all sides of the issue. Further, we encouraged Commissioners to work with their County Prosecutors to routinely request that the Judge require the convicted person to pay some or all of their incarceration costs. This is a provision already in statue, but is perhaps underused.

We had a great turnout at all of the meetings and all the discussions were very good. These meetings are a great opportunity for Commissioners and Legislators to discuss local county issues in an informal setting. We would like to thank everyone who participated and made these meetings such a success! We'd like to publicly thank all our host counties that provided meeting space and some great refreshments. And now...on to the Legislative Session

The County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia invites and encourages you to attend the CCAWV Legislative Association Meeting and Educational Training Program. The meeting is scheduled for February 24-26, 2013 at the Marriott Hotel, Charleston, West Virginia.

Sunday, February 24th the CCA Board of Directors will meet from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. Registration begins at 4:00 and there will be a Welcome Dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 25th will be the CCA Educational Training Series-Resources for county government from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon.

Monday from 1:30 p.m-5:00 p.m. we will be holding the Legislative Briefing and Association Business Meeting. We will be discussing legislation of interest to counties. The Governor, Senate President & Speaker of the House have been invited along with committee chairs.

Monday evening CCA will host our Legislative Reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. Please be sure and invite your legislators.

Tuesday, February 26 at 10:00 a.m. we will be holding “Commissioners’ at the Capital” we would like to have as many of our members attend as possible. This is your chance to help promote our Legislative Agenda.

It is not often that the community and government work together to accomplish a common goal.

However, that is exactly what has happened in Putnam County with the construction of our new animal shelter. It culminates an eight year collaborative effort of volunteers and the county commission and started when Karen Haynes, wife of Commissioner Joe Haynes, started volunteering at the current shelter soon after Joe took office.

Seeing the deplorable condition of the shelter, she started a grass roots effort to build a new one. Largely through her efforts, the community joined together to raise money and awareness. The site for the new shelter was donated and many fundraisers and grants provided an additional two- hundred thousand dollars toward the project. The County Commission joined the effort, dedicating up to $2.3 million towards its completion.

Construction is now well under way, with an anticipated opening early next summer. And it was all made possible by everyone working together toward a common goal.

The County Commissioner’ Association of West Virginia invites and encourages you to attend the CCAWV Legislative Association Meeting & Educational Training Series.  The meeting is scheduled for February 24-26, 2013 at the Marriott Hotel, Charleston, WV.

After the regional jail  summit several weeks ago, several of the best practices for cutting costs have been implemented or are in the development stages all across our state.

We have received numerous call and emails about one of our own that we have started here in Cabell County. There really is no title for the process other than simply "the pre-trialmeeting", but it does reduce the number of inmate days, which in turn yields Cabell County great monetary return.

Each Wednesday morning a member of the prosecutor's office, representatives from Cabell County Alternative Sentencing programs(home confinement and day report), the public defender's office, the commission office, the Chief of Police of the City of Huntington, as well as victim's services gather to discuss processes for releasing inmates that are awaiting trail and possibly a candidate for alternative sentencing.

The criteria studied includes, prior record, current offense and history in these programs. They also determine as to what program would best suit the particular individual if alternative pre trial supervision is appropriate for release. This may include drug screens, check -ins or monitoring through home confinement bracelet or GPS.

On average we are able to discuss 10-15 incarcerates weekly for potential release. Our pre-trial officers also attend court daily, as well as meet daily with Home Confinement and officials of the judiciary to ensure that nonviolent offenders that are appropriate for release aren't adding additional burden to our jail costs and fees.

For further information on our meetings or programs I invite you to contact our offices of Alternative Sentencing, Prosecutors office or the Commission Office. We also are always looking for new and creative ideas for programming and reduction of recidivism thus reducing jail costs while maintaining public safety.

We attended two interim meetings in November, discussing the economic impacts of the changes in production of coal, oil, and natural gas in West Virginia. The outlook for coal in the next several years is pretty bleak! Most of West Virginia’s GEP comes from coal and production is down, according to Mark Muchow, Secretary of Tax and Revenue. There are several reasons including the lack of demand from the planned shutdown of a large number of coal-fired energy plants, as well as the current environmental wild card atmosphere.

Coal has been the biggest contributor to WV’s economy over the last 8 years, but is projected to much less over the next 5 years. While oil and natural gas production is up some 25%, severance taxes are still down because demand is down, therefore selling prices are down. As far as how WV compares in severance tax rates (5%) to our neighboring states, we are about equal with Kentucky (4 ½%), a little higher than Pennsylvania who has some sort of impact fee (2 ½%), and ahead of Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio, all having nothing significant in the way of a severance tax. This landscape has major effects on county budgets, not only from a reduction in severance tax revenue collections, but also in reduced property tax collections and loss of jobs when power plants and coal mines close. The up-tick in the oil and gas industry is wonderful, but is not able to level out the lost due to decreases in the coal industry. While some counties may see losses and some gains, because of the volatility of the market, there is a tremendous fluctuation in taxes that counties count on from year to year.

Some 70 newly elected and veteran County Commissioners from around the state gathered in Bridgeport for a three day “basic training” course designed for newly elected and veteran county commissioners and staff in West Virginia. The intense training offered by the County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia (CCAWV), was held November 28-30, 2012 and was well attended by over fifty participants, newly elected and veteran. “These folks have a lot on their plate when they take office,” ” said Vivian Parsons, Executive Director of the Commissioners’ Association. “It is our goal to provide them with the tools and resources they need to effectively deal with all of the issues that will hit them as they walk through the courthouse doors!”

CCAWV President Cindy Pyles, Mineral County welcomed the participants and opened the thought-provoking program. “This is no picnic,” said President Pyles, “being a county commissioner is a tough job, but we're here to give you support!"

The jam packed agenda included sessions on media relations, team building skills, parliamentary procedure, county finances, employment practices, county risk management, board of review, ethics and open meeting laws. All attendees took home the 2012 edition of the CCAWV County Commissioners’ Handbook.

Bringing public awareness to the office of County Commissioner

Anyone that works in county government knows that the biggest public fallacy is that a County Commissioner only works part time. This statement is proven erroneous every day by Lewis County
Commissioner, Agnes Queen. She i s a 24/7 Commissioner and one particular example of her dedication, work ethic and vision for advancing Lewis County was seen during the June 29, 2012 derecho that devastated West Virginia and surrounding areas.

On October 14-15, 2012 thirty-eight County Commissioners and staff from 22 counties came together with CCAWV Staff and RJA Executive Director Joe DeLong to discuss county concerns and suggested solutions to the increasing cost to counties for incarcerating inmates in regional jails, CCAWV’s top legislative priority for 2013.

The group spent Sunday afternoon brainstorming and came up with over 30 concerns. Before recessing for dinner, the group agreed to a methodology for prioritizing the multitude of topics, the following morning. Through much discussion and lively debate, 5 top priority issues emerged. (The complete list of committee study topics, including the priorities, are listed on the enclosed/attached newsletter insert.)

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