Nicholas County job layoffs take effect

SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. — Cuts of 19 full-time positions and a salary reduction of 20 percent for other employees in Nicholas County went into effect Wednesday.

NIcholas County Commission President Ken Altizer talked about the unfortunate reality of having no choice but to make cuts, citing the county’s reduction of coal mines as a big reason.

“We went from three years ago having four large mines in this county, and probably three small contract mines, down to one mine,” Altizer said. “Our biggest hit has been coal severance and coal personal property.”

He said coal severance had dropped $1.6 million over the past year and a half. Altizer also said that the biggest cost for the county is paying employee salaries. He said employees understood the cuts were necessary given the harsh economic downturn.

“The biggest cost we have is our personnel across the board,” he said. “We’ve had very good communication between the departments. All of the departments have been understanding as much as you can understand a situation like this. We think we’re going to get it straightened out and hopefully we’ll start a bit of a rebound in the next three months.”

Altizer said things may get better in the months to come but it’s not a sure thing.

“We don’t want the people to get their hopes up,” he said. “If they have the opportunity to take another job somewhere, they should.”

Altizer said that Nicholas County has been overspending the last four years and recently made some changes to get a better handle on the county’s budget.

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