Council seats up for grabs in Martinsburg city election

June 10, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Based on Martinsburg residents' participation in early, "no excuse" voting in the last few weeks, turnout for the city's general election today should be higher than four years ago, Recorder Sharon A. Flick said Monday evening.

After 15 days of early voting ended Saturday, a little more than 200 ballots had been cast, Flick said. Considering the number of ballots cast this year amounted to 23 percent of the total cast for the 2004 election, Flick naturally expects a higher turnout than the 9.3 percent turnout four years ago.

The polls today open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

"I am really going to be happy when it's over," Flick said Monday. "I could not have done it without (the Berkeley County) Voters Registration staff ... We work great together."

By this evening, Ward I voters are expected to have decided between Democrat Jason W. Baker of 735 W. John St., and Republican Dennis J. Etherington of 501 S. Georgia Ave.


Four residents, Republican Kevin Knowles of 125 Pennsylvania Ave., and Democrats Glenville L. "Twiggy" Twigg of 110 N. Centre St., Gregg M. Wachtel of 1401 W. King St., and Rodney Woods of 906 Hillcrest Drive, are vying for two Council At-Large seats decided by voters citywide.

Renewal of the city's police levy also is on the ballot. As proposed, the levy rate would generate a $63 tax bill per year for the owner of a residential property valued at $100,000, officials have said. If adopted, the renewal would take effect on July 1, 2009, and continue five fiscal years through June 30, 2014. The levy for the city's 48-officer department must be approved by 60 percent of the voters to stay in effect.

Like the 2008 municipal election, the 2004 ballot had few contested races for residents to decide. As in 2004, Mayor George Karos and Ward council members Richard L. Yauger, Max G. Parkinson and Roger Lewis again are running unopposed.

Wachtel and former Councilman Donald Anderson in 2004 staved off a challenge by LaRue Frye for the two Council At-Large seats. Twigg, the only other city council incumbent challenged in 2004, was defeated for re-election to the Ward V seat by Frank Idoni, who resigned in April 2005. Idoni was replaced by former council member Bettie B. Gunnoe, who is not opposed in today's election.

Anderson resigned in October 2007 because of health reasons and Woods was appointed to complete his unexpired term. Etherington was appointed in January to complete the unexpired term of Shari K. Persad, who resigned in December 2007.

If you vote

What: Martinsburg residents will head to the polls today to pick a mayor and several council members, as well as decide whether to renew the city's police levy for another five years.

When: Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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