Last week, I attended two days of the West Virginia Municipal League Winter Conference.
The opening session included comments from Lisa Dooley, Executive Director of the league. She made an interesting analogy for all the mayors in attendance. She concluded that a mayor’s work is a lot like watching Dr. Pimple Popper, “Most of what we have to deal with is ugly, even uncomfortable, but it won’t kill you.”
I suppose that is encouraging.
Other topics included various utility projects, jail bills, highway projects and pedestrian access.
The primary focus for the legislative visit on Monday was to encourage representatives to get the Home Rule Bill passed as a permanent program.
Otherwise, the 12 year old pilot program is scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2019. Class I cities were the first to have access to the program and have seen tremendous success with it.
The pilot program kept being extended and has been available for Class IV cities since July 1, 2016. Since then the town of Auburn, in Richie County, population 97, has used Home Rule to finance a re-circulating sewage system. Prior to that, they had no utility system.
Home Rule bills in both houses have been in play. SB4, with amendments, passed the full Senate with only three votes against.
Any further comment now will change before this can be printed.
Home Rule municipalities have simplified classifications for town licenses, streamlined the process for building code violations, and implemented simpler methods for collecting delinquent bills. Passage of Home Rule does not mean cities must adopt.
The intent is to give all municipalities the same option going forward.
Also, there are at least five opportunities for public input at open meetings before a Home Rule Initiative can be enacted.