Advertisement

Voters might be asked to expand Berkeley County Commission

February 23, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The Berkeley County Commission voted 2-1 on Thursday to ask state lawmakers to sign off on a plan to allow the county's residents to decide in a special election whether to add two commissioners to the governing court.

Commissioners Steven C. Teufel and William L. "Bill" Stubblefield voted that the necessary legislative action be taken. Commissioner Ronald K. Collins voted against making the request.

As proposed on Thursday, two of three commissioners elected in 2008 would serve six-year terms. The commission candidate who received the fewest votes would serve for two years to ensure only two commission seats are on the ballot at one time. Along with the two new seats, Teufel's term ends in 2008 and he is expected to seek re-election.

Acting on the commission's behalf, Del. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said on Thursday that he was prepared to introduce a bill today, which is the last day for House of Delegates to introduce bills, except for certain resolutions and appropriation legislation.

Advertisement

"Wherever I go (in Berkeley County), this is one of the biggest topics," said Blair, who admitted he might vote against the proposal at the polls, assuming the legislation is enacted. Residents are expected to vote in November on a land-use zoning ordinance and the question of expanding the county commission would be added to the ballot for residents' consideration, Teufel said.

Though County Commission legal counsel Norwood Bentley said on Thursday that he didn't believe such a legislative request could be considered without an accompanying petition signed by 10 percent of the county's registered voters, Blair confirmed that lawmakers had been advised by a West Virginia University law professor that lawmakers could act without it.

Blair said the bill's chances of passing were "better than 50-50." With only 15 days left in the 60-day session, Blair said he hoped to have the legislation directly referred to the House Judiciary Committee, instead of being first considered by the Political Subdivisions Committee.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|