WELLSBURG - Brooke County voters on Tuesday will be asked to choose from two Democratic candidates for Brooke County commissioner.
They are incumbent Norma Tarr of Weirton and challenger Stacey Hukill Wise of Follansbee.
Tarr has served as Brooke County commissioner for 12 years and prior to that was Brooke County magistrate for 23 years. Following her retirement as magistrate, she was appointed by the state Supreme Court to serve as a status magistrate, which involved her filling in for magistrates in other counties and which she held for three years before she was elected commissioner.
Tarr has served two one-year terms as chairman of the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and on the Brooke County Committee on Aging, which oversees the Brooke County and Greater Weirton senior centers.
As commissioner she has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress to secure grants and other funds for Brooke County, including $18 million allocated by the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd for the planning and initial construction of a proposed new bridge across the Ohio River.
If fully funded, the bridge will extend from Brilliant to an area south of Wellsburg, connecting the southern halves of Jefferson and Brooke counties. Tarr said the span will help to bring new businesses to Brooke County.
Tarr said if re-elected she will pursue a traffic signal at the intersection of Archer Hill Road and state Route 2. She said population in the Highland Hills and Archer Heights areas has grown and more drivers on Archer Hill Road have difficulty turning onto the highway against the flow of traffic, creating a dangerous situation.
"We don't want to wait for something to happen and then maybe put in a red light. We want to save a life now," she said.
Tarr said she supports seeking grants and other funds to expand the county courthouse. She said the move will allow all of the county's courts and officials to operate under one roof, eliminating the cost for rent paid for the magistrate court to use the Progressive Bank building and the county prosecutor to use the Cross Law Office.
Wise is co-owner and treasurer of Wise Enterprise LLC, which operates the Meadowbrook RV Park and house rentals and was employed for 21 years by Colonial American Development as an office-site manager for the Rockdale Village Senior Complex.
She said she has more than 30 years' experience in bookkeeping, budgeting, management and secretarial work, and other past employers include the American Psychological Association, NBI Computer Systems and Snyder Tire and Electronics.
Wise said as a county commissioner, she will pursue the extension of sewer and water lines and improvements to roads to attract new businesses and improve the quality of life for residents; will work to make county departments more self-sufficient if possible, in light of the county's recent financial crunch; encourage more interaction between the commission and municipal officials throughout the county; and seek public input on various issues.
"I am approachable, and I will listen to all sides," she said, adding she's compiled a binder of concerns residents have shared with her.
Wise said she will consider an addition to the courthouse if it is built above a parking garage, as discussed.
"I'm definitely for building up and not at ground level. Because where flooding is concerned, it's not a matter of if (it will occur), but when," she said, adding the commission should contemplate a new courthouse in Wellsburg but out of the flood zone.
She said, "To be effective and make good decisions, a commissioner needs reliable information. It is said that a man's knowledge is only as good as his information, so gathering information will take the most time, but that is crucial in helping to make decisions that are in the best interest of the entire county."
Wise added she will seek input from knowledgeable people and turn to other counties to see what has worked there.