James R. “Jim” Barnhart and Travis W. Mong are vying to be one of the Republican Party’s nominees in the race for Berkeley County Council in next week’s primary election,.
Barnhart, 62, of Featherbed Road, Martinsburg said he is well aware of the county’s problems after a 39-year career with the Berkeley County Health Department. Barnhart retired in February.
Mong of Cutlip Drive, Martinsburg, did not return three messages requesting comment on his candidacy.
The winner in the Tuscarora District race between Barnhart and Mong will advance to the November general election where he will vie for one of two County Council seats on the ballot.
The winners in the November general election are expected to serve six-year terms. The annual salary is $36,960.
Barnhart said his campaign slogan is ‘let’s build a better Berkeley.’
If elected, Barnhart said he wants to help the other elected county officers carry out the functions of county government, such as the assessment of property and tax collection.
Barnhart said he would maintain an open door policy and be available to listen and talk with people about their concerns.
Barnhart said he believes the county’s most pressing issue is the increasingly high jail fees paid by the county amid tight budget conditions.
He also noted county employees have not received pay raises for some time and said there also is a need for a new county health department facility.
Barnhart said Berkeley County’s health department, which also receives state funding and financial support from other sources in addition to the county, is the only department in the state that is split between two buildings.
In his years of working as a county health department sanitarian, Barnhart said he gained good perspective on the unique problems faced in different areas of the county.
Based upon his knowledge of public utility services available to residents, Barnhart said he feels sewage collection infrastructure is “pretty much adequate,” but he would like to see expansion of public water lines.
Barnhart said he is not a proponent of zoning, describing it as “a tough issue.”