UPDATE: Wirt County Levy Passes

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE: 2/23/12 @ 9 p.m.
ELIZABETH, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Wirt County operating levy has passed, according to the County Clerk's office.

The vote counting was completed by about 8:30 Saturday night, with a final result of 791 for and 317 against.

The levy passed by 71.39%, which exceeds the 60% super majority required.

ORIGINAL STORY: 2/22/12 @ 6 p.m.
ELIZABETH, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nearly 59 percent of voters in Wirt County who went to the polls in the November general election were in favor of keeping the county operating levy -- but that wasn't enough for the levy to pass.

West Virginia law states that 60 percent of voters need to say “yes" in order for the levy to pass. Back in November, the levy was defeated for a second time in 2012 by not receiving the 60-percent super majority vote.

This Saturday, voters will have another chance to support the levy during a special election.

Wirt County is the only county in the state that has an operating levy.

Officials say the levy generates more than $200,000 annually. Most of the revenue funds salaries for non-elected county officials, including many county employees. It also is used to pay for utilities, maintenance and regional jail bills.

Next month, Wirt County begins work on its budget for the coming fiscal year. Commissioners fear that if the levy doesn't pass, it will have to make cuts, beginning with what are called "outside agencies," some of which are essential to residents.

"That would be the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council, the health department, the fire department, the EMS," says Charles Murray, County Commission member. "These kinds of things mean so much to the community."

"We do need 60 percent, and that's what's on the table this time," says Sherry Smith, a member of a concerned citizens group promoting the levy's passage. "We're doing all we can to get all those folks out who aren't thinking about the levy in the right terms, and how important it is."

Wirt County officials say that, when drilling comes to the county, they might see some revenue from that, but they are not sure when that might happen.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for complete election result Saturday night.

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