KEYSER, W.Va. — Mineral County voters will not only select their political representatives Nov. 2, but will also decide the future of the county’s fire companies and rescue squads.

The general election ballot will include two questions on whether or not to continue the excess levies that provide thousands of dollars of funding annually to each of the county’s 11 fire departments and to the Mineral County Ambulance Authority.

The taxes were first approved in 1988 and went into effect July 1, 1989. They have to be reapproved by county voters every five years.

The levy rates have remained the same from their inception and will not change if renewed again in 2010.

If approved, the projected amounts that will be collected and distributed to the agencies are $498,391 divided equally among the county’s 11 fire departments, and $196,909 to the ambulance authority, mainly for the purchase of ambulances provided to the volunteer companies.

For the levy supporting Mineral County fire departments, the property tax rates are 4 cents per $100 for Class II, residences and farms, and 8 cents per $100 for Class III and Class IV, nonresidence personal property such as vehicles, businesses and rental properties.

For the levy supporting the ambulance authority, the property tax rates are $.0158 per $100 for Class II, and $.0316 per $100 for Class III and Class IV.

The levy questions will be printed on the back of the general election ballot, separate from the list of political candidates. County officials sought to hold the special levy election at the same time as the general election as a cost-saving measure.

At least 60 percent of voters have to vote in favor of the continuation of a levy for it to pass. Voters have approved the taxes continuously since they were first adopted in 1988.

Contact Megan Miller at mmiller@times-news.com.

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