Ben Mayle seeks Seventh Ward Morgantown City Council seat

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Lifelong Morgantown resident Ben Mayle will once again seek the seventh ward seat on Morgantown City Council.

Mayle, 51, will face incumbent Seventh Ward Councilor Brian Butcher in the 2024 Morgantown Municipal Election after they faced off for the same position in 2021. In his second time on the ballot, Mayle wants to show voters that he is a candidate who wants to have sensible discussions surrounding the issues in Morgantown and is willing to hear all sides of a conversation in order to get things done.

“We need to find out what they (residents) need, how I can help, and what we can do to work with communication,” said Mayle about his priorities for council. “Law enforcement downtown is the first step moving forward; help the people fulfill those gaps that I keep hearing about that we have in getting services; work to get those people what they need,” he said.

Improving prospects for downtown Morgantown is an area Mayle wants to focus on if he’s elected to city council. In his discussions with residents and business owners, he found that a combination of a lack of long-term safety measures and policies that have incentivized long-time owners to stay downtown has had a negative influence on growth and atmosphere. Though he mentioned recent police foot patrols and events at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Amphitheater as a good start, long-term support for law enforcement and a business-friendly environment would be an area he feels he can help with on council.

“With law enforcement, it’s just the presence,” said Mayle regarding downtown safety. “They don’t really want the money or the incentives, but the main thing is that they want people to hear their concerns, and not many people are going down and talking to them,” he said.

Mayle also wants to continue improving the relationship between city officials and members of the Morgantown civil service (i.e., the Morgantown Police Department and Fire Department). On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, Mayle included addressing the lawsuit involving the Morgantown Fire Department and the retention of city police officers through the endorsement of policy changes as two issues he could work on as a council member. Steps that new training facilities and an increase in pay might not address in the long term.

“We’ve done things that have made officers leave who didn’t need to leave or retire early when they didn’t need to,” said Mayle. “So if we change the policies that make it more friendly, I want to have policies that encourage them to come here,” he said.

When Mayle ran in 2021, he was defeated by Butcher by less than 200 votes in the tightest contest of the election. As early voting begins for the 2024 Morgantown Municipal Election, Mayle wants voters to view him as a candidate who wants to improve communications with not only local constituents but also county and state representatives after years of disagreements that led to little to no communication over the past half-decade. Collaboration that he hopes can bring issues such as state road repairs and downtown panhandling to rest.

“What can we do, how can I do this, I think with my communication skills and my ability to work with others to get things done, I’m willing to do this for four years and try to help,” said Mayle. “I want to focus on helping the city, and I’m willing to take the shots that I have to take,” he said.

Early voting takes place at the Hazel Ruby McQuain Park Historic Train Depot until April 22. Election Day is on April 25. Early voting is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.