Martinsburg City Council briefs

December 07, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Council deliberates on appointment

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg City Council met behind closed doors on Thursday to decide on three possible candidates to fill the unexpired term of At-Large Councilman Donald Anderson, who resigned in October.

Mayor George Karos asked council members to select three possible candidates in case their top choice decides they are no longer interested in the seat.

Karos said the individual chosen would be announced at the City Council's meeting next week and expected the appointed member to take the oath of office in a special meeting before the next regular council meeting in January.

Karos said he was surprised and "very happy" that 16 people had submitted letters of interest or resums to be considered candidates.


Regardless of who is chosen, Karos encouraged all of the people who applied for the vacancy to file in the 2008 municipal election, which will be held on June 10.

Police levy proposed for ballot next year

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Martinsburg residents may very well be asked to renew a tax on themselves that pays the salary and benefits of nine city police officers, along with their equipment, cruisers and other police department programs..

Members of City Council's Budget and Finance Committee agreed to ask voters in next year's city election on June 10 to renew the police levy at the same rate as 2003, when it was last renewed.

If continued for another five years, the levy would generate a $63 tax bill annually for a residential property valued at $100,000, city officials have calculated.

Mayor George Karos noted that amounted to a cost of 17 cents per day.

"This is really a bargain," Karos said. The current levy does not expire until June 30, 2009, but City Manager Mark Baldwin said he hoped to have the renewal considered on next year's ballot to save election expenses.

City Hall, other projects move ahead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A key committee of Martinsburg City Council members reached a consensus to advance preliminary efforts to expand City Hall, build a downtown parking garage and install a new wayfinding and signage system.

In a brief meeting on Thursday, the four members of City Council's Budget and Finance Committee were unanimous in approving the first phase of each project, which entails paying consultants to develop a schematic design, survey and select sites and provide construction cost estimates.

City Manager Mark Baldwin told committee members that money had been budgeted for the initial phase of each project.

Though a site for the parking garage has not been identified, Baldwin said the consultant for the parking garage project would be providing a design that included 200 stalls.

Roundhouse pedestrian bridge almost complete

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A few aesthetic treatments remain, but work on the pedestrian bridge to the historic B&O roundhouse and shop buildings from the city's train station is practically complete, Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin said on Thursday.

"At the end of the day that bridge is ours," Baldwin said of the partnership the city formed with the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority to get funding and oversee the project's completion.

Baldwin said the only work left to be done was interior painting and staining, which City Council's Budget and Finance Committee later agreed could be paid for with city funds.

City Council as a whole still must agree to advertise the work, which was leftover after Baldwin said state grant money awarded for the project ran out.

Baldwin said it was his understanding that the bids for the bridge were $200,000 to $300,000 more than the grant awarded by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority grant committee.

Committee chairman and Roundhouse Authority member Richard Yauger said he was pleased with work completed.

"We've gone through the punch list many, many times," Yauger said.

Aside from the interior work, the First Ward councilman said floor mats and access keys also needed to be addressed.

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