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Small WV county struggles with big jail debt

UNION, W.Va. — Caught up in what county commissioners say is a statewide crack-down on regional jail bills, Monroe County continues to struggle to find a repayment plan that is acceptable to Corrections Department officials.

Despite making a lump-sum payment of $25,000 in recent months, Monroe County Commissioners revealed Wednesday that their jail bill still stands at around $326,000, a substantial amount for a county with an overall annual budget of some $3.5 million.

Pressured by the state to come up with a payment plan last fall, commissioners proposed monthly payments of $8,000, plus the $25,000 lump-sum, added to the state’s ongoing withholding of between $70,000 and $80,000 per year, representing the county’s share of coal, oil and gas severance funds and liquor tax revenue..

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