Judge Rejects Morgan County Levy Lawsuit

Jefferson County Judge David Sanders earlier today rejected a lawsuit brought by three Morgan County citizens challenging the Board of Education’s decision to put the excess levy on the May primary ballot.

The citizens — Jeannie Ford, Brooks McCumbee and and Frieda Ickes — sued the Board of Education, arguing that a West Virginia state law provision requires that the levy vote take place during the general election in November and not during the primary election in May.

But Judge Sanders agreed with the Board’s attorney Charles Trump that the provision cited by the plaintiffs didn’t apply to this levy election.

Jeannie Ford said that her group plans to promptly appeal the case to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Trump said he was pleased by the decision by Judge Sanders.

“Judge Sanders followed the law, which expressly allows the board of education’s new, reduced levy proposal to be considered and voted upon on May 13th at the time of the primary election this year,” Trump said. “The board has made some pretty dramatic cuts, and its 2014 levy proposal is much leaner than the proposal last year which the citizens of the county rejected.”

“Over the life of the new proposal, if it is approved by the citizens in May, this levy will take $9 million less in property taxes from the people than the 2013 proposal would have taken. In the final analysis, however, the court case was not about the arguments for or against the levy. It was about the right of the people to decide that issue. Judge Sanders ruled in accordance with the Constitution and the law of West Virginia, which provide clearly that the question of whether the board’s new levy will be approved is to be decided by all of the people in the election on May 13th. I am glad that Judge Sanders has affirmed the right of all of the people to decide this question for themselves in May.”



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