LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Charles Town City Council’s pathetic funding choices

The left wing of the Charles Town City Council is at it again. This time it plans to use city revenue to help fund a state-enacted bureaucracy called the teen court. It is disturbing that certain council members want to fund a duplicate social program in these tight fiscal times and then eventually raise taxes on us. These are the same council members that continually try to block business growth that would provide much-needed city revenue, such as the Tractor Supply and CVS projects.

This teen court was approved, but not funded by the state, so how important is it? See West Virginia Code §49-5-13d. Special interests backed by certain liberal judges and lawyers badgered county governments to fund their program. Now they have come begging to our city to get revenue for this program, which would be derived through increases in city traffic tickets. Initially, the revenue is estimated to take $20,000 dollars a year from Charles Town’s coffers, year after year. These special interests actually want $60,000 per year of our money. If they want this program, shouldn’t its users — the parents and their aberrant children — fully pay for it?

This teen court is really not a court program; it is just another liberal juvenile diversion program for 11 to 18-year olds who have committed crimes like vandalism and disorderly conduct. Most of the proceedings are run by teens, not adults, and the maximum penalty for their crime is community service. There are not any valid statistics to show that we have a significant teen problem in Charles Town to warrant any funding for this program. Our current court system has worked well for all city residents, young and old alike.

If City Council would like to increase costs for traffic ticket violations, the revenue should be put in a general fund for other projects and not earmarked for this social program. How about using the money to change out Charles Town’s old streetlight fixtures and replace them with energy-efficient fixtures that will reduce electricity costs for taxpayers by up to 80 percent year after year? We don’t have an animal shelter in Charles Town and unfortunately the City Council does not provide any funding to the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County that takes care of our four-legged friends. How about giving $20,000 a year to the shelter for them? Or we could fund projects like sidewalks, raises for city staff, and so on, that are being neglected by certain left-wing City Council members because they want to use our money to fund another duplicate state social program?

This program will not benefit Charles Town residents. However, funding the projects I mentioned above will greatly benefit Charles Town taxpayers. The left wing of the City Council needs to be held accountable for its atrocious spending habits even as it fails to address and manage real priorities. We are not required to contribute one cent to this program. Charles Town should not provide any revenue to it.

Dave Barnes

Charles Town

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