17 February 2010

Storms Sap W.Va., Local Budgets

Though the fiscal year last until June 30, West Virginia has already nearly depleted the $54 it million budgeted for snow and ice removal, The Associated Press reports.

County and local governments face the same plight, if they're not already in the red, officials told the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "Nearly every county and district office of the Division of Highways is either over budget or close to it" as well, the article said.

As advertised, Chairman John Unger, D-Berkeley, "called the hearing to get state officials to explain why the huge storms this month, and the storm that hit southern West Virginia shortly before Christmas, were so paralyzing," writes AP's Tom Breen.

"There are children in the Eastern Panhandle who haven't been to school in two weeks," Unger is quoted as saying at one point. "What's the cost of that? There are people earning hourly wages who can't get to work. What's the cost of that?"

AP reports that the National Guard's adjutant general told Unger that the state's response "was remarkably well planned and executed considering the severity of the weather and the short respite between storm." Another Manchin official said "West Virginia was the only state in the Northeast region that did not have to shut down major roadways" during this month's storms, the article said.

Others with coverage include The Charleston Daily Mail, The Journal of Martinsburg, Public Broadcasting (with audio), The Register-Herald of Beckley, The Charleston Gazette, and MetroNews (also with audio).

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