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County to insure Boydville property

February 03, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission voted Thursday to allow the county's Farmland Protection Board to keep the historic Boydville property on the county's insurance policy.

In a 3-0 vote, commissioners decided to continue providing insurance for the property and allow the farmland board to reimburse it for the approximately $2,100 annual increase brought on as a result of Boydville's purchase by the board last year.

The vote appeared to serve as a reconciliation of sorts between the farmland protection board and commissioners Ron Collins and Steve Teufel, who complained last week that the property was added without the commission's knowledge. They said they wanted the farmland board to insure the property separately, after discovering it had been added to a list of properties the county owned.

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Both commissioners also expressed concerns about increases to the county's policy if a claim were brought against them regarding the property.

The agreement to continue covering Boydville followed a request by the commission that future property acquisitions be brought before it first.

Acknowledging a statement by farmland protection board Chairman Jim Moore that the commission likely had been told informally of board members interest in purchasing the property, commission President Howard Strauss cautioned that the request should have been made publicly.

"It was not done in a formal setting and the public did not have that opportunity to listen in on the discussion," Strauss said.

The county's farmland protection board purchased the historic 13-acre Boydville property for $2.25 million in December to prevent the site from being developed after the Rector Companies, a Manassas, Va., development company, proposed building a residential subdivision there.

Moore apologized for the mix-up that resulted in the property being listed on the county's premium ahead of informing the commission itself.

He said the board's intent was not to "stiff (the county commission) with the bill," adding that in the past, he had contacted Smith-Nadenbousch Insurance Co. representative Stewart Borger directly.

"We definitely didn't want to own the property and not have it covered," Moore told commissioners. "I did not want to do anything that was not appropriate or legal or moral."

Borger, who said he saw nothing inappropriate in adding the property to the county's list of assets, called the premium increase for the property, "very inexpensive." The property was appraised at $1.2 million.

In other matters, Strauss also asked board members to obtain a legal opinion about the legality of having alcohol sales on the property.

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