BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – City leaders from across the Mountain State are comparing notes in Harrison County this week during the 45th Annual West Virginia Municipal League Conference in Bridgeport, an event that organizers say is about bringing municipalities together.
“There’s an attitude of growth. There’s not an attitude of complacency,” Haws said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “They know that we either need to move forward or we’re going to move backward.”
Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline” originated from the Bridgeport Conference Center where the West Virginia Municipal League Conference will continue through Friday.
Ann Worley, a city council member in Beckley and the incoming president of the West Virginia Municipal League, said all of West Virginia’s cities can learn from each other because cities face many of the same issues. This year, she said revenues are again dominating discussions.
“We have some budget constraints this year as everyone does and I think the one thing the municipalities are really fighting is revenue streams,” Worley said. “B&O taxes are coming in, but our B&O taxes are low.”
This year, 16 cities are vying to become new Home Rule cities in the Mountain State. Those new cities, once approved, would join Bridgeport, Huntington, Charleston and Wheeling — the initial cities in the Home Rule pilot project.
Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie, a former Ohio County state senator, said Home Rule is important for municipalities because it shifts some control for city operations outside of Charleston and moves it closer to home.
“I wish I was a mayor before I was a senator,” McKenzie said. “I would have been a better senator because now I understand the real problems with local government.”