Tri County legislative Summit to be held in Charleston

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Conversations that began during the Berkeley County Council’s annual Legislative Summit will move to Charleston next month.

Berkeley County Council members met with Eastern Panhandle Lawmakers Thursday to discuss legislative priorities for the 2018 Legislative Session when the topic of battling the opioid epidemic was raised.

Earlier this year, Berkeley County received just over $165,000 in state funding for the county’s Day Report Center, far less than they asked for, according to County Councilman Jim Whitacre.

“We kind of thought we were left hanging out to dry with that,” Whitacre told MetroNews affiliate WEPM Radio. “We received, I think it was, 38-cents per capita.”

Whitacre said the average amount received for the state Division of Justice and Community Service grant award was about $3.80 per person and was as high as $15 per person in some counties.

Whitacre said discussing that situation led to the idea to take their issue to the Capitol.

“That precipitated moving the meeting to Charleston because Charleston has the idea ‘Well, Berkeley County’s doing just fine. We don’t have to send them anything extra.”

The meeting will feature presentations from county representatives on not only the drug issue, but other legislative priorities as well such as relief for regional jail costs and the development of a county home rule program.

Whitacre said Commissioners from Morgan and Jefferson County are also being invited to come and put their issues before leaders in the State House and Senate.

“We want to put it into the ear of the department that provide the finances,. or the financial support, that this county would need.”

The County Commission Association is also being invited to attend.

State Senator Craig Blair said the meetings will take place all day Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Capitol immediately following two days of interim committee meetings.

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