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Berkeley County briefs

August 27, 2010

New Planning Commission member appointed

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Berkeley County commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to appoint Martinsburg businessman Clarence "Butch" Pennington to the county's Planning Commission.

Pennington, of Martinsburg, replaces Gary Phalen, who resigned in February, according to the Berkeley County Commission.

In his application, Pennington, who previously served on the planning commission from 2000 to 2002, listed Commissioners William J. "Bill" Stubblefield, Ronald K. Collins and Anthony J. "Tony" Petrucci as references.

Pennington was appointed over Linda Barnhart of Martinsburg, who previously served on the Planning Commission for 18 years, and Vickana P. Norton of Inwood, W.Va.

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Changes approved to fire service fee ordinance

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Changes to the Berkeley County Fire Board's fee structure were approved Thursday by the Berkeley County Commission.

The amendment to the county's fire service fee ordinance eliminated a 10 percent penalty currently applied to a property owner's bill after the fee's due date and replaced it with stiffer, incremental penalties.

The change will not go into effect until next year. The new payment schedule is similar to what the Berkeley County Emergency Ambulance Authority' already has adopted,

While no one spoke against the changes in a public hearing Wednesday, one resident questioned why owners of large buildings such as the sprawling former GM plant, which was said to be 2.2 million square feet, are allowed to pay the same $975 fee as owners of a building that is little more than 20,000 square feet.

"Why are all these big people getting by with paying nothing?" Russell Miller asked.

On Thursday, County Commissioner William L. "Bill" Stubblefield said the disparity was being addressed separately by the Fire Board and expected future changes to the fee structure would be proposed in the coming year.

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