CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County voters spoke loud and clear during Saturday’s school and library system excess levy vote—‘no new taxes.’
Unofficial results Saturday night showed 17,590 (76 percent) voting against the levy and only 5,501 (24 percent) voting in favor.
Approval would have essentially uncapped the current 65 percent excess levy which finances many items in the school system. The levy would also have provided $3 million a year for the county library system, which represents 40 percent of the system’s budget, money it lost because the Kanawha County BOE no longer is mandated to fund it.
Kanawha County School Board President Pete Thaw, the only board member against the levy, said voters avoided a big financial bomb with Saturday’s vote. Thaw said despite the “dire predictions” of what might happen in the school system without the additional funding “the sun will come out tomorrow.”
The 65 percent excess levy is separate and remains in place.
Charleston attorney Tom Heywood, who headed up the pro-levy committee, told MetroNews it was clear residents don’t want to pay more taxes. He said the levy committee tried to highlight the importance of the vote but the effort failed.
Heywood also serves on the Kanawha County libraries foundation board said he would expect significant cuts to the library system. He said that could include the closing of branch libraries and discontinuing the Bookmobile.
In much less controversial votes Saturday, Hancock and Brooke county voters approved their school systems’ excess levies