CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The two men running for a seat on the Putnam County Commission both think their work experiences will strengthen the county.
Republican Andy Skidmore, of Poca, thinks his financial expertise would assist the budget process, which he said is bound to change in the coming years. Democrat Lee Casto, of Bancroft, said his time working for the county and knowing its history would allow him to boost tourism.
The men are vying for the seat being vacated by Commissioner Gary Tillis, the only Democrat on the three-member commission. Tillis decided not to run for re-election.
Skidmore, 32, vice president of Passero Financial Group in Hurricane, said the county's budget would soon change because Putnam County's growth has slowed.
"If we don't have the growth, then we really have to get involved with the budget," Skidmore said.
Casto, 55, is head of the county's maintenance department. He also serves on the county's historic landmarks committee and the Hoge House committee.
"The one area we've not looked at is tourism," Casto said.
Both candidates agreed with the commissioners' decision to raise the county's fire fee by 50 percent, instead of the 100 percent raise firefighters had originally asked for. The fire fee hadn't been raised in more than 20 years.
"They did their research and worked with all parties ... they did the best they could," said Casto, who previously served as chief of the Bancroft Volunteer Fire Department. "I don't know if they need another raise or not, but I think this raise was needed."
Skidmore said the raise commissioners approved was sufficient.