Budget requests pouring in

March 06, 1998


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Rain leaks into the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department's evidence room.

One cruiser has 160,000 miles on it and another has 140,000 miles.

As the Jefferson County Commissioners started holding budget hearings Thursday for county departments, they heard about a variety of problems, including leaking roofs and insufficient office space, that need to be fixed in the next fiscal year.

Jefferson County Sheriff William Senseney said the roof is leaking at the old jail that houses the evidence room.

"We've got water out on the floor of our evidence room. We've got to get stuff out of there," Senseney said.


Senseney said a secure evidence room needs more than a lock on the door.

"People can go through drywall, ceiling tiles. You can't just rely on a steel door," he said. "We can't allow people to go in and steal drugs or firearms or other evidence."

The sheriff requested $614,000 from the county, up from $570,600 for this fiscal year.

Senseney's presentation led to a brief debate with County Commissioner James G. Knode over the role of the sheriff's department.

Knode said the sheriff's department should provide courthouse security, serve court papers and investigate bad check complaints.

Knode said other law enforcement efforts should be provided by West Virginia State Police. He said the county is paying for law enforcement that the state should be funding

There is not enough office space for the 12 sheriff's deputies, so Senseney asked the commissioners to rent additional office space for the deputies.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Thompson requested $509,000 from the county commissioners, a $60,000 increase over this fiscal year.

Thompson said he wants to move three of his assistant prosecutors from part-time to full-time status to handle the increase in criminal court cases.

Thompson has five part-time assistants.

He said in addition to the criminal work, the attorneys in his office provide legal counsel to the county commissioners, the planning department, the development authority and the county assessor.

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