Brooke: Confusion about levies

WELLSBURG – The Brooke County commissioners on Tuesday said they want to dispel some confusion about the county levies on the May 13 primary election ballot.

Tim Ennis, commission president, said he’s heard some mistakenly believe a proposed bond issue for Brooke County Schools will be on the ballot.

The school board discussed putting the bond issue, to help fund a proposed new middle school, on ballots in the Nov. 4 general election. But it won’t appear on ballots in the primary election.

Ennis noted the county levies on the ballots on May 13 are two that for many years have raised funds for the county’s fire departments, ambulance service, library, senior center and other county agencies.

“This will be a continuation of the levies that have been in place for many years,” he said.

If approved, the Brooke County fire levy will raise $371,382 per year for five years, with the amount to be divided evenly among the Beech Bottom, Bethany, Bethany Pike, Colliers, Follansbee, Franklin Community, Hooverson Heights, McKinleyville, Weirton, Wellsburg and Windsor Heights fire departments.

If approved, the Brooke County ambulance excess levy will raise $799,284, to be divided among the following agencies: Brooke County Ambulance Service, Brooke County Health Department, Brooke County Public Library and its Follansbee branch, Mary H. Weir Public Library, Brooke County Parks and Recreation Commission, which oversees Brooke Hills Park; West Virginia University Extension Service, Brooke County Senior Programs, including the senior center and nutrition program; Healthways, including the Brooke County Opportunity Center and mental hygiene proceeding costs; and the Brooke County Museum and Cultural Center.

The amount also includes $55,250 for maintenance, repair and improvements to the county courthouse. The item was added to the levy when it came up for renewal in 2009.

This year is the first in which the museum will receive funding, in the amount of $10,000, through the levy.

The amounts raised by the two levies is higher, reflecting increased property values, but the levy rates, or percentage of property tax owed, hasn’t changed.

In addition to voting from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 13, registered voters may cast their ballots from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, beginning today, at the county clerk’s office in the county courthouse.

In other business, the commissioners accepted the resignation of Les McGowan from the county’s building commission. They thanked McGowan for his service as one of the first members of the board, which was formed to pursue improvements to the courthouse and other county facilities.

The board meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month. The commission will accept letters of interest in the seat through the county clerk’s office at the courthouse for the next two weeks.