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Berkeley Co. parks levy struggling for passage

May 12, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - With 46 of the county's 59 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Berkeley County voters appeared to reject a four-year, $1.2 million Parks & Recreation levy.

To pass, the levy needed a 60 percent majority. According to incomplete election results, it received 53 percent of the votes cast.

The levy was supported by 3,714 people, while 3,257 people voted against it.

Steve Catlett, executive director of Berkeley County Parks & Recreation, had used a quality-of-life argument in hopes of getting the levy passed.

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"Once it's developed it's never going to be open space again," he said of the county, which is quickly growing.

Catlett could not predict exactly which projects would have been funded first, had the levy passed.

Parks & Recreation officials oversee operations at 16 parks in the county and city, including War Memorial Park, Poor House Farm Park and a soccer field complex in Falling Waters.

Parks & Recreation officials asked for 1 cent for every $100 of assessed Class II property, meaning the owners of a $100,000 home would have paid $6 a year. Taxes are based on 60 percent of a house's assessed value.

The levy was expected to generate around $312,000 a year and would have gone into effect on July 1, 2005.

Of the $312,000 raised annually, $217,000 would have been used to expand, improve and develop parks and recreational facilities. The remaining $95,000 would have been used for operating expenses, including maintenance of existing and additional facilities, such as buying supplies or paying for necessary services.

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