Police budgets: What do Mineral County's towns get for their money?
West Virginia municipalities finalized their budgets in March. As the News Tribune compared their budgets, specifically examining the funds set aside for their respective police departments, we wondered: What does each of the towns get for their money?
The law enforcement budgets are used for salaries, uniforms and equipment, vehicles, and maintenance. As the populations of West Virginia’s cities and towns have decreased, however, so has the share of money available for law enforcement. In 1977, municipalities comprised almost half of police spending in the entire state, compared to 39 percent in 2017, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy.
Here is the rundown for the five municipalities in Mineral County:
The City of Keyser - the county seat - budgeted $680,561, although that was increased by $141,240 after the $153,147 originally budgeted for dispatch was no longer needed.
The Keyser City Council voted to dissolve the city’s dispatch in March, and those duties were absorbed by Mineral County 911.
According to Keyser city administrator Jeff Broadwater, the Keyser Police Department has 10 vehicles, with the newest being a 2017. They currently have eight full-time officers, but are planning to go fully staffed at 12 officers and one administrative support employee very soon.
Ridgeley has a budget of $134,315 for its police department, and they carry two full-time officers and two part-time officers. Ridgeley also has three vehicles in use.
Ridgeley provides Carpendale with police presence and Carpendale pays monthly for the service out of their $18,000 budget.
The City of Piedmont budges $35,000 for police protection, and has two part-time police officers and two police cruisers.
The Town of Elk Garden budgets $12,000 for law enforcement and has a full-time chief and one part-time officer. When the chief was originally “hired” by Elk Garden, he volunteered his time until grant funding became available. They have one police vehicle.
Ronda Wertman contributed to this story.