The statewide lack of coal severance revenue is forcing local entities to rethink their funding. In Monongalia county, public transportation officials say they’re considering cutting services. But today, they proposed a levy that could provide the funding they need.
“The opportunity to put this issue before voters is critical for Mountain Line and it’s critical for our community,” said David Bruffy, general manager of Mountain Line Transit Authority.
Wednesday, Bruffy proposed a levy would generate more than $1.8 million annually for public transit in Monongalia County over the next five years. He says this levy is vital to transportation in the county’s rural areas.
“The folks that this levy would serve don’t have a viable alternative to get to town, and for the people in the community and for the people in the community and the growing areas around the urbanized area, we’re either going to choke on traffic congestion, or were going to adopt transit to more forward,” Bruffy said.
Even if the levy is passed, it won’t generate funds for public transit until July 20-17. But what happens without this levy?
“If this levy isn’t passed, then the rural service we have right now, we’ll have no way to fund it,” Bruffy said. “So we will lose service – about 6,000 hours of service.”
The deadline to propose a levy in Monongalia County is Feb. 24, and the county commission expects to hear more proposals to fund other areas like recreation. But ultimately, it’s county residents who will have the final call when they vote on these levies in the May primary elections.
“We will put it on, and then the people will discuss it,” said Commissioner Tom Bloom. “Where I see this, basically, is it’s now time that the Monongalia County community is going to step up because no one else is going to help us, and I know this community will do the right thing.”
Bloom adds the county will publish a new budget in March that will not take levy proposals into account. That way, taxpayers will have full disclosure on where their money is going before voting on this levy.