CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Monday is the deadline for West Virginia cities to apply for home rule status.
Four cities have been part of a six-year pilot program including Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling. The success of those programs eventually lead to the state legislature to vote to expand the program in 2013 which gives communities more power to decide what state rules hinder their ability to run effective governments and then propose solutions.
West Virginia Municipal League Executive Director Lisa Dooley said other cities want their turn at home rule.
“They’ve seen those success stories and some of the innovative things the city’s have done,” Dooley said. “They’re excited about this.”
There are 20 spots open for home rule communities. Four of those will go to the pilot program cities. There are 22 applicants for the other 16 spots.
“When you do things every day, cities know what will work and what won’t work,” she said.
They just want a chance to try out their ideas. Dooley said from the get go back in 2008, she knew home rule would be a success.
“It’s the biggest ‘I told you so’ I’ve ever had in my life,” she said.
Just because there’s not enough room for all the applicants to become home rule cities doesn’t mean some will be left out of the process. Dooley said the Municipal League will encourage the legislature to add more spots for home rule cities during the 2015 regular session.