WELLSBURG - Brooke County voters will go to the polls May 13 to choose a county commissioner and decide two property tax levy issues.
Commissioner Norma Tarr, a Democrat, is being challenged by Stacey "Hukill" Wise of Follansbee, also a Democrat. No Republican filed to run for the seat, so the winner of the primary contest will be unopposed in November's general election.
Tarr, who has served two terms on the commission, said she has always worked well with and for the citizens of Brooke County. She has more than 30 years of public service experience, serving as a Brooke County magistrate from 1978-1998 before retiring. She joined the commission in 2003.
During that span, she cited the pursuit of a new bridge connecting Ohio and West Virginia - which she and other commissioners secured funds for with the help of the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd - and the transfer of the county's judicial system to a new building. She said similar upgrades are still needed.
"We do have a new annex we are trying to build, but the money is holding us up," she said. "We have a lot of good things going now, we just need to focus on more infrastructure and more jobs in the county."
Wise said if elected, her first priority will be to review the county's budget to look for waste and possible expanding sources of revenue. She said her decision to run was driven by a strong desire to create a better future for Brooke County.
"We must remember that government is designed to serve the people - all the people, rich and poor, so I want to ensure that all Brooke County residents have a seat at the table and that is what I intend to uphold most importantly," Wise said.
Wise works as site manager of the Rockdale Village Senior Apartments in Follansbee for Colonial American Development, and is the co-owner of Wise Enterprise LLC, which operates the Meadowbrook RV Park on Hooverson Heights. She has been married to her husband, Jeffery, for 29 years and has two children, Katie and Jacob Wise.
The first excess levy would provide an estimated $799,284 per year for libraries, senior programs and ambulance service, among other things. Proposed yearly expenses are as follows: $201,584 for ambulance service; $24,073 for the Mary H. Weir Public Library in Weirton and $141,124 for the Brooke County Library, including the Follansbee branch; $38,438 for Healthways Inc.; $40,016 for senior programs; $143,887 for the county health department; $84,532 for the county Parks and Recreation Commission; $60,380 for the West Virginia University Extension Service; $55,250 for courthouse maintenance and improvements; and $10,000 for the Brooke County Museum.
Meanwhile, the fire levy would provide an estimated $371,382 per year to be divided in equal $33,762 shares between 11 departments: Bethany Pike, Bethany, Beech Bottom, Colliers, Follansbee, Franklin, Hooverson Heights, Wellsburg, Windsor Heights, McKinleyville and Weirton.