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Berkeley Co. parks levy fails by not getting super majority

May 13, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When the final election results were announced just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, Berkeley County found itself without a Parks & Recreation levy, but with several new office-seekers propelled to November's general election.

About 21 percent of the county's 47,706 registered voters turned out at the polls, according to complete but unofficial results.

Election results will be certified after Friday's canvass.




Parks & Recreation levy


The backup plan for Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation does not call for any drastic measures, but Executive Director Steve Catlett had hopes for the levy.

Although 53 percent of the county's voters approved it, a 60 percent super-majority was needed for the levy to take effect.

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"We'll continue to try to find other money," Catlett said before the election, when asked what would happen should the levy fail.

He cited past projects that were accomplished with little or no taxpayer money, including the Berkeley 2000 recreational center and the soccer field complex in Falling Waters, W.Va.

Over the last few years, much of Parks & Recreation's budget has come from self-generated funds, including attendance fees charged at special events such as the popular Haunted Trail at Halloween.

This year, up to 80 percent of the agency's funds could be self-generated, he said.

Had the levy passed, the approximately $312,000 generated each year would have been used to expand recreational opportunities and keep up with operating expenses.

The levy would have cost the owners of a $100,000 home $6 a year in additional taxes.

Of the ballots cast, 4,630 were in favor of the levy, and 4,093 were not. More than 1,200 people did not vote for or against it.




County Commission


Since no Democrat filed to run, insurance agent Ron Collins is likely to be the next Berkeley County commissioner.

Collins, a Republican, defeated Curtis Keller in the primary race. Collins received 2,555 votes while Keller received 1,715.

John Fink, chairman of the county's Democratic Party, said several people wanted to run for the seat, but all lived in districts from which a candidate was not eligible.

Collins, 64, has said he plans to retire from his job at State Farm Insurance.

As a county commissioner, he said, he has two priorities - improving the county's police and fire departments and increasing funding for Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation.

Zoning, which is not in place in the county, is an issue Collins said should be decided by voters. Collins said he supports placing a zoning ordinance on the ballot.




Board of Education


Two incumbent Board of Education members were easily re-elected to another four-year term.

Three candidates competed for two seats in the nonpartisan race, which is decided during the primary election.

Board of Education President Bill Queen finished first with 6,478 votes. Board Vice President Bill Norris finished in second place with 5,854 votes.

Challenger Paul Gavin received 2,874 votes.




Prosecutor


A fellow prosecutor, albeit from another county, will challenge Berkeley County Prosecutor Pamela Games-Neely in the Nov. 2 general election.

Larry Crofford, an assistant prosecutor in Jefferson County, defeated his Democratic opponent, Tom Stanley, in the primary.

Crofford received 2,427 votes, while Stanley received 1,656, according to complete but unofficial results.

Games-Neely, a Republican, ran unopposed. She received 3,839 votes.

"Experience does count, and that does resonate with the voters," Crofford said in the courthouse late Tuesday night as his victory became apparent.

Crofford has been a prosecutor for 14 years.




Magistrate


Kristy Greer had worried that she might fare badly because her name was randomly placed last on the list of six candidates seeking a county magistrate seat.

She didn't need to worry. Greer, an incumbent, finished first among the six Republican candidates, with 2,720 votes, according to complete but unofficial results.

The top five Republicans advanced to the general election, where they will face four Democrats who ran unopposed in Tuesday's primary.

Mary Teufel finished last among the Republicans and was eliminated. Teufel, the wife of County Commissioner Steve Teufel, received 1,814 votes.

JoAnn Overington finished second with 2,605 votes, incumbent Harry Lee Snow finished third with 2,432 votes, Tom Grove finished fourth with 2,240 votes and Robert L. Lowe II finished fifth with 2,159 votes.

On the Democratic side, incumbent Joan Bragg finished slightly ahead of fellow Magistrate Sandy Miller. Bragg received 3,137 votes, while Miller received 3,119.

Magistrate Scott Paugh received 2,217 votes, and Ywatta "Nessy" Mitchell received 1,685.




Assessor


If his next step is as successful as the one he took Tuesday, Larry Hess will be driving to the same workplace for the next four years.

Hess defeated his Democratic opponent, Brad Unger, in Tuesday's primary. Hess received 2,331 votes and Unger received 1,928, according to complete but unofficial results.

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