- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) - McDowell County officials have voted to shift funds in an effort to keep six deputies slated to be laid off by the end of the year.

Before the County Commission’s vote Tuesday, Sheriff Martin West told officials that if the deputies are laid off, the department would lose its night shift and could be seriously hampered in its daytime emergency responsibilities.

The commissioners voted to give the sheriff’s department $21,000 a month that had been bound for the McDowell County Ambulance Authority, news outlets reported. The money will be disbursed from January to July 2017, in what officials called a temporary fix.

County Commission President Harold McBride says the ambulance authority had to be idled earlier this year because of financial difficulties.

West said he hoped the commission’s action Tuesday would allow him to retain some of the deputies, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported. West estimated his department needed $38,000 to $39,000 a month to keep all six.

“They voted to help us out some, and that’s all I was asking for,” West said after the meeting. “If they could help sustain us until money starts coming in and we would be able not cut off six deputies, so I’m glad they offered some help today.”

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