KEYSER - The Mineral County Commissioners were able to accomplish several goals in the past calendar year - including finally catching up with the Regional Jail bill - and are looking to tackle several more as 2017 gets underway.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
@lizbeavers1
KEYSER - The Mineral County Commissioners were able to accomplish several goals in the past calendar year - including finally catching up with the Regional Jail bill -  and are looking to tackle several more as 2017 gets underway.
The county commission has been struggling - as have many other counties in West Virginia - to pay the jail bill, which has ranged as high as $70,000+ a month at a rate of  $48.25 per inmate per night.
With careful management and a slight uptick in revenue this year, however, the commissioners were able to begin catching up on the bill - which on a couple of occasions had reached almost $1 million.
“We were able to catch up by July,”  commission president Richard Lechliter said Tuesday.
Lechliter also noted that the commissioners were able to set up step increment pay raises for county employees, and to increase security at the courthouse complex - a goal which will continue through the new year.
In addition, they were able to purchase the former office building of attorney James Smith and are in negotiations for the purchase of the former law office of John I. Rogers, with both properties to be used to help expand the courthouse complex.
The commissioners then released their list of goals for 2017:
 - Budget wisely and conservatively.
 - Continue to find ways to reduce the monthly jail bill.
 - Construct and equip  a new communications tower on Patterson Creek Mountain.
 - Increase courthouse security.
 - Support the Sheriff’s Department in reducing drug-related crime.
 - Support the Development Authority in job retention and expansion.
 - Encourage public service districts in the county to expand water and sewer service.
 - Encourage private and government expansion of broadband and cellular service.
 - Support the promotion of local tourism and recreation.
 - Promote citizens working to improve their health and taking pride in their properties.
 - Press the state and federal governments for better roads and bridges, friendly employer incentives and drug addiction rehabilitation.