MILTON, W.Va. – Six cities in the Kanawha Valley are putting the final touches on their presentations for Monday’s Home Rule Board meeting. That’s when Dunbar, Milton, Spencer, Nitro, South Charleston and St. Albans will each get an hour to convince the board they are deserving of home rule status.
For some communities it’s been a long time in coming. Milton Mayor Tom Canterbury said he and his staff have been working on their application for the past year.
“Our goal is to get this thing done, be one of the 16 cities to get accepted,” he explained.
There are 23 cities and municipalities from across the state vying for just 16 home rule spots. Canterbury knows that Milton is not a shoo-in. But he believes they’ve put together a presentation that is strong. The big item on Milton’s home rule agenda is taxes.
“It’s not only lowering the B&O taxes, it’s leveling the playing field with the businesses just outside our city limits, to be more competitive with them,” Canterbury stressed.
The city would also like more freedom when it comes to blighted property and selling off a few acres at the old Morris Memorial Hospital which closed in 2009.
The Home Rule Board has already held one meeting in Beckley. Three more are scheduled: Wheeling on Aug. 11, Bridgeport on Aug. 25 and Martinsburg on Sept. 8.
The state legislature voted to expand its pilot home rule program in 2013. Charleston, Huntington, Bridgeport and Wheeling were the test cities.
Canterbury said he’s got his fingers crossed Milton will be added to the list.
“I really feel good about it, I really do. If we don’t get it there’s going to be one upset mayor here in Milton.”
The meeting will take place at the West Virginia Economic Development Authority in Charleston starting at 8 a.m. Monday.