Pollworkers approved for special election

PARKERSBURG – Wood County commissioners approved the list of pollworkers and the two emergency absentee ballot commissioners for the Nov. 23 special election.

The only issue on the special Saturday ballot will be renewal of the excess levy for Wood County Schools.

The list of pollworkers is provided to the county clerk’s office by the executive committees of the Democratic and Republican parties then presented to the county commissioners for approval. The two emergency absentee ballot commissioners deliver ballots to individuals who are hospitalized on election day and are unable to get to the polls. Patty Jo Thompson, a Democrat and Katy Williams, Republican, were named to fill those positions for the day.

“The letters will be going out this week to the pollworkers,” Mark Rhodes, county clerk said.

Rhodes estimated election costs will be around $85,000.

“We’ll be using paper ballots so that will be a little less expense,” Rhodes said. “The county will be completely reimbursed by the board of education for the expenses, but the county will need to pay the costs .” This will also be the first election with the fewer number of precincts after the county’s 86 precincts were recently consolidated down to 69.

Commissioner Steve Gainer asked why the board couldn’t place its excess levy renewal on the regularly scheduled election ballot.

“They have to have it done by March/April for the tax tickets, the next cycle will fall within the regular election time frame, but this time it does not. Having the election on the November date will also allow them to be able to put it back on the ballot again in February if it does not pass this time,” the clerk noted.

Rhodes said due to the holiday schedule, the commissioners should begin canvass of the election Dec. 3.

If approved, the levy would be for five more years. Expenses are broken down for voters on the single issue ballot.

According to the information that will appear on the special election ballot: $925,000 would be used to continue employment, beyond the funding of the State School Aid Formula, for reading resource teachers and $375,000 for school nurses; $1.7 million would be used for maintenance of buildings and equipment; $9,953,803 would go to improve the district’s instructional program by the employment and retention of qualified teachers, service and administrative personnel.

The Parkersburg/Wood County and Vienna libraries would receive a total of $447,913; school technology grants for infrastructure, and, or equipment would be funded at $200,000; curricular and extra-curricular salaries for athletic coaches and academic sponsors, $800,000; substitute salaries, $570,000; dental benefit plan for all personnel, $800,000; copier service and materials for all schools, $225,000; instructional materials, supplies and equipment for all enrolled students, $275,000; grants for Local School Improvement Councils’ projects in support of the Strategic Plan, $150,000; educational curriculum in the form of library/media supplies, books, equipment, software and services, $140,000; an alternative school program for troubled students, $150,000; West Virginia University Extension Service Programs, $50,000; Artsbridge and other art enrichment programs, $8,000.

The total for each of the five fiscal years would be approximately $16,769,716 or “such amount as the proposed 80 percent additional levy rates may produce when applied to the annual assessed valuation of taxable property in the Wood County School District.”

Voters will be asked to mark a box for the levy or against the levy.

The current levy expires June 30, 2014.

Rhodes said earlier the upfront costs for the election were included in the county’s budget. Passage requires 50 percent, county officials said.