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Town Meetings

Town Meetings to be held Saturday, Feb. 4 & 11

Delegate John Overington has scheduled two Town Meetings. The first Town Meeting will be held February 4 at the Marlowe Ruritan Building from 10-11:30 a.m. Take Rt. 11 to Marlowe Elementary School. Turn right onto Broad Lane and the Ruritan is on the right. The second meeting will be on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Bedington Ruritan Building from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Directions: (Go south of the Bedington Crossroads and the Ruritan on the west side of Rt. 11).

“At the beginning of each year I schedule meetings across the district as a way to listen and get input and ideas from the people I represent. These meetings have provided an excellent way for me to keep in touch with the people in Berkeley County and the Eastern Panhandle and are a very helpful link in the two-way communication that is important for government to work. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate. I hope those attending will take a few minutes to fill out the Citizens’ Poll in this newsletter and bring it to the meeting.”

“This is my 33rd year of holding these meetings at the start of the 60-day legislative session which begins this year at noon on February 8 and concludes on April 10.”

Key legislative priorities for 2017 are job creation and balancing our state budget. We need to lower our tax rate by broadening the base and reducing exemptions. We must make our state more job friendly by reducing burdensome regulations and red tape. West Virginia has the lowest workforce participation rate in the nation. We need to right size our government to deal with the projected $400 million budget shortfall.

Also of concern are our State’s drug epidemic, improving student achievement and issues dealing with Berkeley County’s growth. I am also interested in your input on road projects in the area, education, health care, hunting, senior citizens, law enforcement concerns and animal abuse. I have also invited our two state senators, Craig Blair and Charles Trump, to attend and participate.

TOWN MEETING SCHEDULE

SATURDAY, February 4, 2017

10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Marlowe Ruritan Building

SATURDAY, February 11, 2017

10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Bedington Ruritan Building

Town Meetings to be held Saturday, Jan. 9 & 16

Town Meetings to be held Saturday, Jan. 9 & 16

Delegate John Overington has scheduled two Town Meetings. The first Town Meeting will be held January 9 at the Bedington Ruritan Building from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Directions: (just south of the Bedington Crossroads on the west side of Rt. 11). The second meeting will be on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at the Marlowe Ruritan Building from 10-11:30 a.m. Take Rt. 11 to Marlowe Elementary School. Turn right onto Broad Lane and the Ruritan is on the right.

“At the beginning of each year I schedule meetings across the district as a way to listen and get input and ideas from the people I represent. These meetings have provided an excellent way for me to keep in touch with the people in the Eastern Panhandle and are a very helpful link in the two-way communication that is important for government to work. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate. I hope those attending will take a few minutes to fill out the Citizens’ Poll in this newsletter and bring it to the meeting.”

“This will be my 32nd year of holding these meetings at the start of the 60-day legislative session which begins January 13 at noon and concludes on March 12. The top priorities for 2016 have to be job creation and getting our state budget balanced. West Virginia has the highest unemployment in the nation and the lowest workforce participation rate. That is why improving our business climate is so important, getting our people back to work.

Other topics the legislature will be considering this year include drug testing for those on welfare, Right to Work legislation, prevailing wage rate repeal, and the homestead exemption, protecting religious freedom and issues dealing with Berkeley County’s growth. Also of concern are the status of road projects in the area, education, health care, hunting, senior citizens, law enforcement concerns and animal abuse. I have also invited our two state senators, Craig Blair and Charles Trump, to attend and participate.

TOWN MEETING SCHEDULE

SATURDAY, January 9, 2016
  • 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Bedington Ruritan Building
SATURDAY, January 16, 2016
  • 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Marlowe Ruritan Building

Town Meetings were held Saturday, Jan. 4 & 11, 2014

Town Meetings were held Saturday, Jan. 4 & 11, 2014

Delegate John Overington has scheduled two Town Meetings. The first Town Meeting will be held January 4 at the Marlowe Ruritan Building from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. Directions: Take Rt. 11 to Marlowe Elementary School. Turn onto Broad Lane. The Ruritan building is on the right. The second will be on Saturday, January 11, 2014 at the Bedington Ruritan Building from 10-11:30 a.m. (just south of the Bedington Crossroads on the west side of Rt. 11).

“At the beginning of each year I schedule meetings across the district as a way to listen and get input and ideas from the people I represent. These meetings have provided an excellent way for me to keep in touch with the people in the Eastern Panhandle and are a very helpful link in the two-way communication that is important for government to work. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate. I hope those attending will take a few minutes to fill out the Citizens’ Poll in this newsletter and bring it to the meeting.”

“This will be my 30th year of holding these meetings at the start of the 60-day legislative session which begins January 8 at noon and concludes on March 8. Some of the topics the legislature will be considering this year include the budget shortfall, tax relief and the homestead exemption, drug testing for those on welfare, frivolous lawsuit reform as West Virginia again gets described as a “judicial hellhole”, and improving the business climate and issues dealing with Berkeley County’s growth. Other topics include the status of road projects in the area, education, health care, hunting, senior citizens, law enforcement concerns and animal abuse.”

Two dozen citizens attended Delegate John Overington’s legislative town meeting in Bedington on Saturday. Taking a look at his newsletter are Bill Henneberger, left, Overington, JoAnn Overington and Richard Drewry. The legislative session reconvenes Wedne

Two dozen citizens attended Delegate John Overington’s legislative town meeting in Bedington on Saturday. Taking a look at his newsletter are Bill Henneberger, left, Overington, JoAnn Overington and Richard Drewry. The legislative session reconvenes Wedne

Citizens share concerns with Delegate Overington By Jenni Vincent / Journal staff writer POSTED: February 8, 2009

BEDINGTON - Democracy was alive and well in north Berkeley County Saturday morning, when about two dozen citizens came out to share their concerns - and sometimes frustrations - with Delegate John Overington, at his final town meeting before heading off to Charleston for the state legislative session.

Overington, R-Berkeley, is no stranger to hosting these types of gatherings, since he’s been in office for 25 years and has always “believed strongly in the value of having a two-way dialogue between citizens and politicians,” he said. Far from being just a social event, Overington said he gets some of his best ideas by talking to constituents.

Some of those ideas, such as putting prisoners to work picking up trash along state highways, were the basis for bills that later became laws, Overington said.

“I consider my best resources the people I represent,” he said. “When we’re in Charleston, we’re often surrounded by lobbyists, but I want to have fresh on my mind what’s on your minds.”

“That’s why I’m here to listen to you, to get your ideas and suggestions,” Overington said, adding that this year’s legislative session won’t be easy due to the ailing economy and the state’s dwindling surplus.

Saturday’s event, which was held at the Bedington Ruritan Club and was the last of three held locally, drew folks who wanted to talk about a variety of topics including prevailing wage, the need for additional broadband access, questions about the local sewer line and the homestead exemption.

Martinsburg resident Marc Petitpierre, who agreed that the economy is a major and continuing concern, had some advice for Overington.

“Tax breaks don’t work by themselves. I would encourage you to consider other proactive means to help the economy,” he said.

Petitpierre said he also believes that there needs to be “more aggressive action” to protect the state’s natural environment, especially in rapidly developing areas where trees are routinely clearcut for housing and commercial developments.

“I don’t think we should just be worried about the rainforests in Brazil,” he said.

Overington said he is sponsoring a contest to help find the Eastern Panhandle’s largest tree, a contest which is being conducted in conjunction with the Eastern Panhandle Conservation District.

Additional information is available by contacting Sara Wuertenberg weekdays at (304) 263-4376, ext. 116.

Several speakers were clearly frustrated with rising property taxes and the impact on long-time home owners, some of whom are literally being priced out of their homes and the area, they said.

Marie Fogarty of Whitings Neck, agreed that something needs to be done about property taxes.

“I think they are taxing people who have lived here all of their lives out of their homes and the answer seems to be to sell your home and move out. But where do we go? Deeper into West Virginia, where maybe you can afford the land and a house?” Fogarty said, adding that most people aren’t able to or don’t want to move.

She also attended the session to speak about health care needs, because she believes only the “very rich and very poor” are currently receiving adequate medical care under the existing delivery system.

Fogarty said she is a proponent of a single-payer health care system, a concept which has been endorsed by many doctors, she added.

Just having the opportunity to discuss all of these types of issues in a community forum was a benefit, according to Fogarty, who credited Overington for reaching out to local citizens.

“John Overington has a lot of experience with these meetings and I think he genuinely wants to hear what we have to say and he genuinely wants to represent the people - that’s why he keeps getting re-elected,” she said.

Berkeley County Commissioner Bill Stubblefield, who participated in the meeting’s discussion, said he understood the participants frustrations.

He also reminded them that county officials have limits to their power and funding.

“It’s bad enough that taxes are high, but only 18 percent stays in Berkeley County. The rest goes to Charleston,” Stubblefield said.

Richard Drewry of Falling Waters, who’d never been to one of these meetings before, said he attended because he’d like to be able to hunt on Sundays.

“I’m a bow hunter and I’d like to be able to bow hunt on Sunday. I know other states in the West do it and this is one of the few states in the East that doesn’t do it,” Drewry said prior to the meeting.

Bedington resident Bill Henneberger, who lives near Overington, said he is most concerned about property and income taxes.

“Hopefully, those two won’t be increase at all. But I’m hoping to see something done with the homestead exemption,” he said.

The legislature reconvenes on Wednesday. Overington’s telephone number in Charleston is (304) 340-3447. Messages can be left at (877) 565-3447.

Delegate holds town hall meetings

Delegate holds town hall meetings

By Jamie West, Journal Staff Writer POSTED: January 10, 2010

SCRABBLE - With the West Virginia Legislature preparing to reconvene in Charleston this week, a local lawmaker took time to speak with county residents about their concerns and priorities.

Delegate John Overington, R-Berkeley, conducted two town hall meetings Saturday to discuss some of the current matters and issues going on within the Panhandle, as well take questions and feedback from inquisitive residents of the community.

The first town hall meeting took place at the Bedington Ruritan building at 10 a.m., while the second was held at 1 p.m. at the Mount Wesley United Methodist Church in Scrabble near the Jefferson/Berkeley county line.

Overington said that approximately 25 to 40 people attended the Bedington meeting, while approximately 13 people attended the gathering in Scrabble, including fellow House member Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, and a pair of individuals who recently announced their intentions for public office: Phil Martin, running for Berkeley County Commission, and Lori Rea, running for representation in the West Virginia House of Delegates for the 57th District.

Overington said that a major topic of discussion at the Bedington meeting was the hike in water and sewer rates.

“They also felt that the sewer board was not being responsive toward their concerns,” Overington said after the meeting.

More talks circled about the anticipated tightening of Chesapeake Bay emission requirements and how that would also lead into an increase in costs. In time, the federal government will allocate nitrate and phosphorus reductions on a state level, and from there, it will eventually be set on a county level by the state government, Overington said.

“My concern is that it will affect the farm community, developers and homeowners, and it will increase costs for sewer plants, which will eventually get passed on to the individual customer,” Overington said.

The state budget was also discussed, he said, including the projected $120 million deficit for the state government for the fiscal year of 2011, which begins July 1.

“It provides opportunities to set your priorities, and where your spending really needs to go for essential state services,” Overington said.

At the Scrabble meeting, Overington fielded questions about affordable high-speed Internet service and the lack of cellular service in a wide variety of areas, as well as inquiries about the completion of the W.Va. 9 project.

One resident expressed concern about not being able to immediately contact 911 in the event of a farming accident because cell service in the area is sparse. She said that critical amounts of response time could be saved by having adequate service in the area.

Overington mentioned that service varies by provider, but said that he felt there was a need for additional cell towers in northern Berkeley County.

As for Route 9, Overington said he anticipates the road to be open within the next couple months.

Another main subject that will be focused on in Charleston is the locality pay issue, which Blair and Overington both touched on during the meeting.

“Average property taxes in Jefferson County are $1,200, and they are $900 in Berkeley County. Statewide, it’s an average of $400, and down in McDowell County, it’s close to $60,” Overington said.

A locality pay initiative could help educators and others in dealing with the cost of living in the Eastern Panhandle.

“The disparity in cost of living in the Panhandle and the rest of the state is like this,” Blair said, holding his arms out at width.

The 60-day legislative session begins Monday and will last until March 13.

-Staff writer Jamie West can be reached at (304) 263-3381, ext. 132, or jwest@journal-news.net.

John@Overington.com
Postal Address
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Martinsburg WV 25404
304-274-1791
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WV State Capitol
Room 214-E
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304-340-3148
1-877-565-3447
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