CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Coming up over the next few months 23 West Virginia municipalities will try to capture 16 available openings to be part of the Home Rule Pilot Project in West Virginia.
The test started with Charleston and Huntington and eventually expanded to include Bridgeport and Wheeling. Now the legislature has opened up to 20 cities which can be part of the program. Application presentations have to be made before the state’s Home Rule Board since there are more cities interested than slots available.
“When 23 cities applied, I made it clear it would be hard to have one centralized meeting,” said Patsy Trecost, Home Rule Board chairman.”I wanted to give everybody an equal opportunity.”
Each city will get an hour to make a presentation about their home rule plans and how they will use it to advance their municipality and their surrounding county.
“We want to know how you’re going to help your city,” said Trecost when asked what they’ll be looking for as they receive each proposal. “We want to know how are you going to benefit each city around you.”
Trecost and the board decided the best way to give each of the cities a fair shot was to have uniform rules. Each city will get one hour to make a presentation and there will be a public hearing to let residents know exactly how they feel. After hearing all 23 presentations and the public remarks, Trecost says they’ll pair them down to 16.
“This is going to give the city more power to do what it can to make itself grow,” he said. “But still they’ll be under the watchful eye of the state of West Virginia.”
The schedule includes: (All meetings begin at 8 a.m.)
July 7 at Beckley City Hall
Oak Hill, Lewisburg, Princeton Bluefield
Aug. 4 WV Econ Dev Authority office
Milton, St. Albans, Dunbar, Nitro, South Charleston
Aug. 11 Wheeling City Hall
Parkersburg, Vienna, Moundsville, Weirton
Aug. 25 Bridgeport City Hall
Buckhannon, Clarksburg, Shinnston, Fairmont, Morgantown
Sept. 8 Martinsburg Holiday Inn
Charles Town, Ranson, Martinsburg, Bath, Berkeley Springs