Monday marked the fourth of five regional meetings around West Virginia for cities to present their home rule proposals to the state Municipal Home Rule Board.
If you haven’t kept up, 23 cities have applied for 16 new slots in the West Virginia Home Rule Pilot Program. Those cities have collectively identified more than three dozen issues they’d like to address with home rule.
As part of the selection process, the Home Rule Board is holding regional meetings to hear presentations from each applicant city. After the hearings, the board will select the 16 new cities.
Those meetings were in Beckley on July 7, Charleston on Aug. 4, Wheeling on Aug. 11 and Bridgeport on Monday. The last meeting will be in Martinsburg on Sept. 8.
St. Albans’ application was rejected during the Charleston-based hearing on Aug. 4 because the city failed to complete the application requirements before the June 1 deadline (The Daily Mail pointed this out in June).
During Monday’s hearing in Bridgeport, at least two Morgantown business owners opposed the city’s proposal for a one-percent sales tax, according to articles from the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram (read here) and Morgantown Dominion-Post (read here).
This was the first instance I’m aware of where several community members attended a home rule hearing to oppose their city’s home rule application – notably on one issue.
Of course, there have been some instances of opposition to home rule, but that’s occurred at the municipal level before applications were due.
Of the 22 remaining home rule applications, 15 want to create municipal sales taxes. Assuming the 16 cities selected aren’t forced to amend their home rule plans, that means at least nine additional cities will have local sales taxes when all is said and done.
So far, seven municipalities in West Virginia have local sales taxes – a figure which includes three current home rule cities: Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling.
If you’d like to read more about the subject, check out this blog post I wrote a few weeks back about local sales taxes in West Virginia and how they compare with other cities and states.