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City residents to vote on extending cop levy

March 28, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Seventeen cents a day will enable the city of Martinsburg to pay the salaries of nine existing police officers, along with paying for their vehicles, equipment and other necessities, officials said.

For that to happen though, at least 60 percent of the city's residents again must approve the excess police levy, which will be placed on the ballot during a special election set for Dec. 13.

Martinsburg City Council members approved the election and date at a meeting Thursday evening.

If voters pass it, the levy will generate $652,472 a year for five years, or more than $3.26 million over its life.

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The levy would take effect July 1, 2004.

The last time the levy was on the ballot, it failed during the general election, said Mark Spickler, the city's finance officer. However, it passed during a subsequent special election, he said.

Breaking down the numbers for city council members, Spickler said the owner of a $100,000 home within the city would pay $63 a year, or 17 cents a day. Those who do not live within the city limits would not be affected.

Should the levy fail, the nine Martinsburg Police Department officers currently classified as levy officers would not be out of a job immediately, Spickler said. Another election or two would be held first, and the city would try to find the money elsewhere, but that could prove difficult, he said.

Nine officers make up one-fifth of the police department.

Should more money be raised via the levy than needed, it would be used solely for police department purposes, Spickler said.

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