As early voting begins, agencies urge support for Safety Levy in Kanawha County

Published: Apr. 25, 2018 at 5:34 PM EDT
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Early voting kicked off Wednesday in West Virginia, and on the ballot in Kanawha County: the Safety Levy. It funds dozens and dozens of ambulance agencies, volunteer fire departments, local police and sheriff detachments and more.

Tuesday night, heavily armed police swarmed a Charleston neighborhood. Neighbors along Hunter’s Ridge Road said it was concerning see the police, but it was also a good feeling.

“I'm glad they could get here so quickly to take care of it,” said David Ellis as he waited for the standoff scene to clear.

The police department is just one of at least 50 agencies in Kanawha County that saw some of the Safety Levy’s $17.8 million last year.

"Somewhere along the line one of the agencies that this levy supports is going to come out and help you in one way or another,” explained Denny Dawson, General Manager with Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority (KRT).

KRT is another of the agencies getting levy funding, seeing annual ridership at 1.8 million passengers. That’s nearly 10 times the population of Kanawha County.

KRT was just one of many agencies at a Charleston rally Wednesday, the event aiming to continue stumping for support for the levy as voting kicked off.

“It costs the average person less than it would cost a bottle of pop a day,” said Joe Lynch, executive director of the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority.

Lynch said it about 21 cents a day for the average homeowner in Kanawha County to support this levy, meaning just under $77 for the whole year.

“Each police department, I don't care where you live in the county this benefits you. It is the ultimate public safety issue we have,” said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.

This is just one of the items on the ballot in Kanawha County. A vote ‘yes’ means you want the levy to continue in its current form.

The levy needs 60 percent of voters to approve it to continue.