Martinsburg’s Excess Police Levy expires July of 2019, this year a decision will be made on its renewal.”
The Martinsburg Police Department can often be found looking for drugs and criminals, but on May 8 they will be looking for something different.
“We’re looking for a big vote for the levy,” said Martinsburg Police Chief Maury Richards.
The police levy has been in effect for the last 20 years, and Martinsburg Police Chief Maury Richards says it provides essential services.
“That pays for – as I said – 9 officers, their vehicles, equipment training and other important functions that we have,” explained Richards.
These functions include the K-9 unit and the Martinsburg Initiative, which connects local kids with police officers in the hopes to dispel negative images associated with law enforcement.
“The only way you can break through that is by building positive, personal relationships with trust and communication, and you have to do that face to face,” said Richards.
A big publicity push has been made for this levy; because, unlike in other years, it will be included on the primary election ballot and not in a separate vote. The department wants people to be aware of this, so they don’t miss the chance to pass the renewal.
“Without enough funding, no department can do the types of things that they want to do. So it’s important to us,” explained Richards.
Chief Richards says the levy is a relatively low cost for residents.
“For instance for a hundred thousand dollars worth of property it comes to about 17 cents per day,” he calculated.
This rounds up to $63 per year.
The Martinsburg Police Department says they have successfully shut down drug houses and lowered crime rates in the city, but they still need resident’s help.
“We have a great relationship with our citizens and great support and we’re looking for that on May 8,” said Richards.
If renewed, this levy will be for the next 5 fiscal years starting July 1 of 2019.