Reader supports Kable

I am writing this letter in support of Gary Kable, who is seeking reelection to the Jefferson County Board of Education. Gary is the Board’s liaison to the Vo-Ag Advisory Committee and, in the absence of Scott Sudduth, is also liaison to the Jefferson County Development Authority.

Gary serves tirelessly in an effort to maintain a superior learning system that must be operated within budgetary and legal constraints. The funding each year is dependent upon previous year student enrollment and revenue from local and state sources, all of which are affected by economic conditions.

The Board is presently working as a cohesive group, listening to the opinions of each member, coming to a common conclusion, and leaving the board meeting as a single unit determined to meet the needs of students and employees. This is not to say there are no disagreements, but there is no fracture in the overall goal of efficient procedure.

Gary is serving as vice president of the West Virginia School Boards Association. When elected here on May 8, he will move into the position of president-elect of WVSBA for the upcoming term. What better way to have the concerns of the Jefferson County school system heard in Charleston? Elect Gary Kable.

Doris Cline

Charles Town

Grant family says thank you for the support

On April 14, approximately 200 people gathered at the Ranson Civic Center to support Coach Mike Grant in his battle against brain cancer. The “Friends of Big Mike” generously donated their time to plan, organize, and orchestrate an amazing evening in an effort to raise funds for our medical expenses. We wish to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to the “Friends of Big Mike” for their commitment in making this event so successful.

Of all places to live, we often wondered why we chose Jefferson County. The answer is so clear to us now. There are many wonderful people in this community who are so supportive in so many ways. It is this community that is lifting us every day and walking along side us. As we wear our gray wrist-band bracelets from the evening that say “No One FIGHTS Alone,” it continually reminds us that we stand together as we continue our journey. We are a family of strong faith, and we feel so blessed and are so thankful. We are proud to call Jefferson County our home. Our immediate families live quite a distance; it is comforting that we have found family in our own backyard.

There are so many people to whom we wish to extend a heartfelt “thank you”; if we were to name all of them, the list would go on and we do not want to omit a name accidentally. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support that this community has given us. Thank you to all the businesses that helped us by either purchasing tickets or donating an auction item. Thank you to our politicians who came to share the evening with us. Thank you to St. James Catholic church and surrounding churches for continuing to pray for us. Our families and friends, whether near or far, care and support us unconditionally. The amount of support is endless. Your willingness and goodness will never be forgotten.

Thank you!

Mike, Paula, Michael, Melissa and Matthew Grant

Harpers Ferry

Open letter to County Commisison on impact fees

Dear President Noland and members of the County Commission:

Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss some of our concerns regarding a proposed fire fee for Jefferson County. It seems vastly premature for the commission to consider this request given the lack of concrete financial data and the fact that no one but the Jefferson County Emergency Service Association’s lawyer has seen a proposed ordinance.

Nonetheless, and assuming the JCESA can get its act together in time, there are two upcoming golden opportunities to submit the question of a fire fee levy to the voters with negligible added expense to the county. They are 1) the primary election in May, and 2) the general election in November.

The focus is not the prospective need for additional personnel to provide fire/EMS services. Rather, it is how this would be paid for, i.e., with taxpayer dollars already being collected or with new taxes, whether they’re called taxes or not.

As citizens to be affected by any increase, it is unconscionable to us that: 1) this issue would not be submitted to the voters to decide; 2) a $300,000 to $500,000 billing and collection apparatus is already being set up to collect only 75 percent of fire fees, in lieu of, upon voter approval of another levy, using property liens to collect 100 percent of such taxes; 3) the county would even consider disadvantaging its citizens by adopting a fee rather than imposing a voter approved additional tax that would be deductable when a fee outside a levy would not; 4) the so-called “revised numbers” change nothing and make it apparent that the method used to arrive at them was by using the old bottom line $2.9 million and juggling the numbers and categories above it to make them total the same $2.9 million; and 5) any consideration at all would be given to an additional tax when neither the commission nor the citizens have concrete financial data from the agency or the commission to justify it.

On a latter point, Mr. Aitcheson questioned the consultant’s report at the informational meetings earlier this year. Those present were told that the financial statement justifying the new tax/fee was a “work in progress” and that the numbers had been re-done though not yet given to the citizens. Again, at the County Commission meeting on April 12, when the supposed revised figures were challenged, the same response was given by the deputy director. It is ludicrous to think that in this time of austerity and severe financial hardship for many, this county would consider such an issue when the financial data upon which the request is based is a moving target!

The knee-jerk reaction of some to the foregoing comments may be that these guys are enemies of the fire and EMS personnel. The idea that anyone opposed to a new tax is against the good firemen and EMS personnel could not be farther from the truth. The citizens and the services they provide should be supported and honored for their valuable contributions to our community. Rather, this myopic view only obscures the real issues, which are: 1) whether there is an appropriate need given that response times are well within standards, and 2) whether already existing JCESA and county funds are insufficient to meet the need.

Thank you for your earnest consideration of the citizens’ interests in this matter.

Robert D. Aitcheson

Douglas S. Rockwell

Charles Town

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