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Berkeley County raises property tax levy rates

April 17, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The Berkeley County Commission on Tuesday morning formally approved new property levy rates that will slightly increase property taxes.

The tax bill for a home with a market value of $150,000, for example, will increase by $4.32 per year because of the rate increase, which was adopted to help the county balance its 2008-09 fiscal year budget, which begins July 1.

"I think we will be able to make all of our goals and objectives next year," said Commission President Steven C. Teufel, who sounded upbeat about the county's financial condition.

Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield noted that Berkeley County was among the majority of counties across the nation that have experienced a downturn in finances, a development he said was beyond the county's control.

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"We recognized the downturn very quickly," said Stubblefield of the county's bleak financial outlook, which he said surfaced in July 2007.

That same month, the commission approved the hiring of a full-time attorney to handle legal matters on behalf of the commission, the county planning department/planning commission and other county offices.

In September 2007, the commission hired an information technology director and commissioners defended the decisions, saying both would save the county money paid for existing contracted services. The combined salaries for the new positions was about $190,000, with the attorney becoming the county's highest-paid employee, making $108,000 per year.

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