Lewisburg’s request for levy date correction granted
By Peggy Mackenzie
An expedited declaratory judgment order was signed by a judge on Monday, June 1, declaring Lewisburg’s excess levy will continue without interruption for another five years. All parties in the suit were in agreement.
Senior Status Judge Charles M. Vickers signed the order at the close of a brief hearing in Greenbrier Circuit Court, with no questions about the facts as presented.
The issue in the court case was $438,554 in excess levy funds which were placed in jeopardy by an error on the ballot for the special election, in which the levy was approved earlier this year. That same
error appeared in the levy’s supporting documentation, and amounted to 13 percent of Lewisburg’s total projected revenue in the upcoming fiscal year.
The civil action named state Auditor Glen B. Gainer III, Greenbrier County Assessor Stephen Keadle and the West Virginia Tax Department as defendants.
Lewisburg maintained that a clerical error was to blame for incorrect dates for the levy on the ballot and other documents. The city asserted in the suit that its clear intention in putting the excess levy on the special election ballot was to continue the levy currently on the books without interruption, and that
voters understood that intention when they approved the special levy by a 91-32 margin.
The excess levy currently on the books expires this summer at the conclusion of FY 2014-15, and the correct dates for the levy’s five-year run are FY 2015-16 through 2019-20. The dates on the ballot and other documents designated the lifespan of the excess levy to be FY 2016-17 through 2020-21.
Christopher J. Prezioso, an attorney with Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, representing the city in the matter, stated to the judge, that with the exception of the dates cited, “all the numbers in the ballot are correct.” Vickers said he was ready to sign the order with no further ado.
“This will make sure the excess levy is continuous and provides necessary funding for the city,” said Mayor John Manchester after the hearing.