Harpers Ferry drawn-out town council election dispute finally settled

West Virginia

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — It has taken more than a year, but Harpers Ferry finally has a town council.

A disputed election in June of 2019 had to be decided by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, which ruled that the town must count the four provisional ballots that the council threw out over technical errors. The outcome: Nancy Singleton Case beat out Charlotte Thompson after counting the four ballots.

Months of dispute over the election outcome took place during other issues facing Harpers Ferry. The National Park Service, because of the pandemic, has closed its facilities in the scenic, historic town on the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. There’s also been local controversy over a proposed development project, the Hilltop House hotel, in addition to a December train derailment which damaged a bridge leading to a popular hiking trail. But with a new council in place, officials say it is time to look ahead.

“There’s been a lot of division the last few years,” says Christian Pechuekonis, a member of the town council, “and we want to talk with and discuss the Hilltop House Hotel. We’d like to resolve it one way or the other.”

Town Councilman Jay Premack said he is glad to see “this unfortunate and avoidable chapter in Harper’s Ferry history finally come to a close.”

And Harpers Ferry Mayor Wayne Bishop says there is much to be done in the town and there are many ways to resolve the Hilltop House dispute.

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