BECKLEY, W.Va. — Residents of the Raleigh County town of Rhodell voted Tuesday to dissolve their municipality. The town had been struggling for many years. In fact Tuesday’s municipal election ballot had no candidates for any town offices. The question of dissolving was the only thing asked of voters.
The next step, according to Raleigh County Commissioner Dave Tolliver, is to work out the logistics of the process to make the community an unincorporated area of Raleigh County. He says there are some hurdles.
“As of July 1st the Raleigh County PSD will take over the water system and all of the assets, buildings, and so forth will be turned over to the county,” Tolliver explained. “The only thing the city of Rhodell has is a water system and we had to go down there several months ago and make repairs to all of the leaks.”
The transition however, won’t be simple. Under state code a municipality cannot be dissolved until all bills are paid.
“Honestly that’s going to be a problem,” Tolliver explained. “The city of Rhodell is several thousand dollars in debt to various organizations and the tax department.”
The city has no businesses and therefore no B and O tax revenue and it’s only assets are two buildings which are not likely to bring much revenue if they are sold.
“If you would get five or ten thousand dollars out of them you’d really be lucky. They’re deteriorating terribly,” Tolliver said. “The former city hall burned down several months ago and that’s still under investigation.”
The town’s only source of municipal revenue was the town water system. The water service, which is in disrepair, draws about $1,500 a month from 80 homes who are served. Most of that revenue is swallowed up by monthly bills and the street light bills.
The Raleigh County attorney is working on the logistics necessary to complete the town’s dissolving.