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Berkeley County Commission expansion question will be on Nov. ballot

August 22, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Berkeley County voters in November's general election will be asked to decide whether to expand the county commission from three to five members. Berkeley County Clerk John W. Small Jr. confirmed Thursday that the ballot question was sent to the company that is printing the ballots for the Nov. 4 election.

If the question is approved by the voters, the County Commission's name would change to "Berkeley County Council" and two additional members of the budget balancing arm of county government would take office in January 2011, after the 2010 general election.

As proposed, the new council at the time of election would be comprised of residents from five of the county's six magisterial districts, instead of three.

The additional county officers would mean taxpayers would have to shoulder the additional salaries - $36,960, plus benefits - and any expenses to make room for them in the county government's office building off West Stephen Street.

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Both Commissioners William L. "Bill" Stubblefield and Steven C. Teufel have supported the right for voters to decide the question. Commissioner Ronald K. Collins has opposed the concept and voted against putting it on the ballot.

Teufel has said the additional commissioners could help with lobbying state lawmakers in Charleston, W.Va., and assure county business would continue in instances when members are unable to attend meetings for health or emergency reasons.

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