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Berkeley Co. Council to expected decide on levy rate hearing

March 07, 2011

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —  — The Berkeley County Council is expected to decide Thursday whether to hold a public hearing to consider increasing levy rates by more than 3 percent.

“My gut sense is that none of us, none of us, would like to increase (the rate) above the 3 percent,” Council President William L. “Bill” Stubblefield said Monday after hearing budget presentations from County Clerk John W. Small Jr. and County Administrator Deborah Hammond.

Council members Doug Copenhaver and Elaine Mauck said in the meeting that they did not want to burden the taxpayers with any additional increase in the levy rate, which is used to generate tax bills.

“I know I don’t want to go back to the taxpayers and say we need more money,” Copenhaver said.

“I don’t want to, either,” Mauck responded.

With or without a levy rate increase, the county is obligated to provide a 2 percent increase to the county assessor’s office in accordance with state law.

The revenue generated from the additional 1 percent of a 3 percent increase would go into the county’s general fund.

Based on preliminary calculations that factor a 3 percent levy rate increase, the projected revenue for the county’s next fiscal year is about $25 million, Hammond told council members. The total revenue includes about $18 million in property tax money. The 2011-12 fiscal year begins July 1.

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Hammond also reported Monday that the assessed values of property in Berkeley County declined by about 4 percent, but also noted the drop was offset by new commercial property added to the books.  

— Matthew Umstead

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