Martinsburg briefs

June 29, 2011

City to launch credit card, online payment services

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — City of Martinsburg residents will soon have the ability to pay their utility and fire and garbage bills via the city’s website.

The city council in a special meeting Wednesday unanimously approved an agreement with MVB Bank in conjunction with FiNet and InvoiceCloud to process credit card transactions for the municipality. Council members Betty Gunnoe and Richard Yauger were absent.

An imposed 2.95 percent transaction fee on transactions will be passed on to customers and the city will still collect 100 percent of what it is owed, City Finance Director Mark Spickler said. The city must pay a $50 monthly access fee for the service and establish a depository account with MVB to receive the credit card payments, according to Spickler.


Spickler told the council that he hopes to have the “long overdue” credit card service available to the public by October. A form still must be developed, but Spickler said the city also hopes to allow business owners to eventually pay business and occupation taxes online.


Duplex damaged in March arson to be demolished

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Berkeley County contractor was awarded the bid to demolish a duplex at 112-114 N. Church St., that was substantially damaged by a fire in March that investigators have said was intentionally set.

The city council approved the $9,835 bid submitted by United Wreckers & Excavators with the condition that required proof of insurance and licensing is provided to the city.

The owners of a house at 116 N. Church St., which also was damaged in the fire, have obtained a permit to demolish that home, City Engineer/Planning Director Michael M. Covell told City Manager Mark Baldwin in a memo last week.

Fire investigators determined the March 19 fire was set using an ignitable liquid at 114 N. Church St., but quickly spread to the other side of the duplex at 112 N. Church St. and to the house at 116 N. Church St.

The duplex was vacant because a previous fire in November displaced the former residents, fire officials said. The home at 116 N. Church St. was being lived in, but the owner wasn’t home. The fire caused about $150,000 in damages to both structures, officials said.


City Council votes to redraw ward lines

 MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — City officials in Martinsburg will hold a public meeting as efforts to redraw the city ward lines move forward.

City Council on Wednesday approved Mayor George Karos’ proposal to create the committee and appoint the mayor, legal counsel Floyd M. “Kin” Sayre, City Recorder Gena Long and Council At-Large members Rodney Woods and Gregg Wachtel to the redistricting panel.  

Sayre said in the special council meeting Wednesday that the ward lines need to be redrawn in light of the census 2010 population figures.

Divided equally, the population of each ward in the city would have about 3,445 residents based on the 2010 census population of 17,227. State law requires wards and other election districts to be as nearly equal in population as possible.

City Manager Mark Baldwin said expects the public will have an opportunity to review redistricting proposals.


Bank executive reappointed to Airport Authority

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg City Council on Thursday unanimously approved Karos’ proposed reappointment of Stephen Cox to the Eastern West Virginia Airport Authority.
Council members Betty Gunnoe and Richard Yauger were again absent for the vote.

Cox’ reappointment has been opposed by residents who have cited a state Ethics Commission probe of the Centra Bank executive in 2007. Cox was ordered not to vote on issues involving New York-based Arcadia Aviation, which until May 31 was the Airport’s fixed-base operator.

The company in 2007 obtained a loan from Centra Bank, where Cox handles commercial lending.


Competitive cycling event slated for Sept. 24

MARTINBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg City Council on Wednesday voted to allow Antietam Velo Club to hold a competitive cycling event in downtown Martinsburg on Sept. 24.

The twilight event is expected to begin about 5:30 p.m. and Joseph Jefferson of Antietam Velo Club told city leaders in a letter that such races attract close to 350 racers for the event.

Jefferson noted the city last held a competitive cycling event in the 1990s and the club planned to resurrect the same course in downtown, starting at the square. The route is expected to follow Queen Street north to West Martin Street, then left onto South Maple Avenue to West Stephen Street and then left onto Queen Street, according to Jefferson.

“The more races we promote, the more opportunities there will be for participants and their family members to spend money in our region,” Jefferson said.

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