Courthouse grant upgrades security in Brooke county

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Commission on Monday learned a state grant has been awarded for new security surveillance cameras and other security measures at the county courthouse.

County Sheriff Larry Palmer confirmed the county will receive a $28,213 grant from the state Division of Justice and Community Services to replace cameras posted outside the courthouse, which he said are at least 10 years old, and equipment used to monitor and record images from the cameras as well as new panic buttons for some departments in the building.

Maureen Williams, chief tax deputy, prepared the grant application.

Palmer said the county also sought, but didn’t receive, separate grants for cameras and related equipment for the county’s probation office, magistrate court and county prosecutor’s office. He said any remaining funds from the courthouse grant may be used for the magistrate court.

“A good thing about the equipment is it can be moved into another building if needed,” the sheriff said.

In recent years the commission has discussed expanding the courthouse so all of the county’s court facilities may be moved under one roof, but the funds to do that are lacking.

The commission rents space on the second floor of the Progressive Bank building and at the Cross Law Office for the magistrate court and prosecutor’s office.

In other business, the commission tabled a request for $3,000 from the West Virginia Route 2 and I-68 Authority for its efforts in promoting expansion of the two highways. Charles Clements, board director, said the group will seek the same contribution from each of the 10 counties it represents.

Last year the board sought the same amount and received $1,500 from the commission after advising it and similar boards in the state were de-funded by the state Legislature in the face of the state’s multimillion-dollar deficit. The commissioners said then they saw the contribution as a temporary fix, hoping state funds for the board would be restored.

Tim Ennis, commission president, expressed concern about granting this year’s request.

“With the budget cuts by the state, we’re going to get a lot more requests like this,” he predicted, adding the county’s budget has been cut by about $650,000 as a result of declining tax revenue.

The Route 2 and I-68 Authority has used Facebook, roadside signs and other means to encourage public support for the highways’ development and visited West Virginia’s representatives in Congress to encourage federal funding for that.

In light of the upcoming Independence Day holiday, the commissioners invited Ellen Daugherty of Wellsburg to perform a patriotic song for the meeting.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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