CHARLESTON, W.Va. — There is one less city vying for home rule status after Monday’s meeting of the state Home Rule Board.
Six cities were set to make their presentations at the meeting in Charleston, but only five got that chance.
Board Chairman Patsy Trecost said St. Albans was disqualified after failing to meet the criteria for home rule status by the June 2 deadline. The board sent a letter to St. Albans Mayor Dick Callaway giving him a chance to explain but they never heard back. When the St. Albans delegation showed up Monday morning, they were politely but firmly told they were no longer eligible this cycle.
“We’re looking at a situation where they’ve had months to hit a date and then another month to explain their error. So the Board decided we’re going to move forward without St. Albans,” said Trecost.
Just last week when MetroNews spoke with Mayor Callaway he said the city was ready to go with their presentation and he was positive they’d win over the board.
MetroNews contacted Callaway Monday morning but has yet to hear back.
That still left five cities to make their presentations: South Charleston, Dunbar, Milton, Spencer and Nitro. Each city had 60 minutes to make their case and answer questions from the Home Rule Board.
Trecost said the board is looking for proposals that will benefit more than just the city applying.
“What we’re looking for more than anything, and we’ve been clear on this as a board, we want to see how a municipality can benefit itself but also how can it benefit the region around them,” Trecost stressed.
For most of the cities who have applied, that includes plans to lower their B&O taxes, clean up derelict property and sell public property without having to go to auction.
Those were three of the main points the city of Milton tried to get across during their presentation to the board. Milton Mayor Tom Canterbury said the B&O tax reduction is critical for his city.
“We applied for the home rule which will enable the city of Milton to eliminate and lower some B&O tax and hopefully entice other businesses to come into our area,” according to Canterbury.
At the end of the presentation, the board said they were impressed with Milton’s plan because it didn’t ask for or promise too much.
Canterbury left the presentation feeling very positive.
“I think it went well. I think it went very well!”
Monday’s meeting was the second of five. The first took place July 7 in Beckley. The third is set for Aug. 11 in Wheeling. The final two will take place in Bridgeport on Aug. 25 and Martinsburg on Sept. 8.