County Commission president lists goals

January 03, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County Commission President Howard Strauss said that in 2003, he hopes the county will move toward using electronic voting machines, adopt a noise ordinance, begin construction on a countywide judicial center and equalize magisterial districts by population.

Strauss, who was re-elected the commission's president at Thursday morning's county commission meeting, presented a typed list of his goals and objectives for the year to fellow commissioners John Wright and Steve Teufel.

Teufel, elected in November, was sitting in his first meeting.

After he read the goals aloud, Strauss asked that Teufel and Wright review them, after which they could be approved at the commission's meeting next week.


Two years ago, when Strauss took office, he compiled a separate list of goals, which he said have mostly been realized. Those goals included forming plans to have a judicial center, creating subdivision regulations, creating a farmland preservation board and implementing open governmental rules. Of the latter, Strauss said the county now has a Web site, e-mail links to county offices and has limited executive sessions at its weekly meetings.

"We're now ready for a new list of goals," Strauss said.

The first several goals on Strauss' new list deal with the large, former Blue Ridge Outlet complex, which will be renovated into a judicial center. Currently, several courtrooms and related offices are scattered throughout Martinsburg.

Strauss said he hopes construction on the complex will begin in November. The county purchased the complex after the outlets closed.

Strauss also hopes to update the county's comprehensive plan, adopt a hazardous mitigation plan, adopt a cell tower ordinance and hire a planning director.

On the technology front, Strauss said he believes even more information should be on the county's Web site, circuit clerk records should be scanned back to 1990 and made available to the public, and commission meetings should be available via audio streaming on the Internet.

At the South Queen Street Animal Control office, which is being expanded from six to 36 dog runs, Strauss said dispatchers should be added during the day to handle calls from the public, and more employees should be hired to effectively enforce the vicious dog ordinance, which took effect Wednesday. Under the ordinance, dogs that are deemed vicious will be destroyed.

The last goal on Strauss' list is creating a noise ordinance, specifically to deal with barking dogs and racetrack noise, Strauss said.

The Herald-Mail Articles