- Associated Press - Thursday, January 12, 2017

WELCH, W.Va. (AP) - An agreement has been reached to boost McDowell County’s budget and avoid laying off additional sheriff’s deputies, a county official said.

Media outlets report an agreement among the county commission and two other agencies was disclosed at a commission meeting Wednesday.

Commission President Gordon Lambert said at least $50,000 per month will be available in upcoming royalties from a coal mining operation in the county.

Lambert said under the agreement, $36,000 will go to the county’s general fund. The county Ambulance Authority will receive $10,000 a month and the Economic Development Authority will receive $4,000.

“We will take care of the sheriff’s department,” Lambert said.

County attorney Ed Kornish told Sheriff Martin West the commission first must hold meetings to figure out where the money will go. West had announced in December the impending layoff of six deputies.

The sheriff’s office has eliminated its late night shift, and additional layoffs would have jeopardized the evening shift.

The sheriff’s office initially was exempt from a 10 percent across-the-board budget cuts in the county, but the commission last week rescinded that and included the office in the cuts.

West said one deputy recently quit, another was laid off and he’s losing another deputy in March. Money for those positions can be used to help offset the 10 percent cut. West said he’s not sure yet if his office will have enough money to replace those deputies who leave.

“I’m no crybaby,” West said. “‘We’ll take shots as they come. I’m just saying we want to be treated fair.”

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