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Public will get chance to comment on increasing commissioners

December 08, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA.

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

Those who think the number of Berkeley County Commissioners should be increased to five - and those who think three members are sufficient - can voice their opinions tonight during the County Commissioners meeting.

Public comments will be allowed from 7:05 to 7:30 p.m. on the matter, which has been discussed for years.

County Commission President Steve Teufel said no action will be taken tonight. Petitions are needed before anything may be done, he said.

Some debate exists on the exact process needed to increase the number of commissioners. Eventually, voters would decide whether to increase the number.

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Judy Malone, a county resident who has spearheaded the effort to get the question on a ballot, said she believes the state Constitution indicates a petition with signatures of 10 percent of the county's registered voters is not needed to forward the matter to the state Legislature.

She said she believes the County Commission itself can simply forward a request to the Legislature asking that the number of commissioners be increased.

Either way - with or without a petition - the Legislature must pass a bill approving the request before the question can be put to voters during an election.

There are more than 56,000 registered voters in the county, meaning more than 5,000 valid signatures would be needed on petitions.

Commissioners are elected to serve six-year terms and are paid $30,800 a year.

The only county in the state with five commissioners is Jefferson.




If you go ...



WHAT: Public comment session regarding a discussion to increase the number of Berkeley County commissioners from three to five

WHEN: Tonight, 7:05

WHERE: Berkeley County Commission chambers in the Dunn Building, 400 W. Stephen St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

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