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Home Rule Board Announces 16 New Cities

Martinsburg Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau

The West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board announced the sixteen new cities who will take part in the extension of the pilot program Monday in Bridgeport.

Home rule legislation was first adopted in the state as a five year pilot program for four cities. In 2013, the program was extended through 2019 and expanded to an additional 16 cities.

Twenty-two cities applied for the 16 spots in May and board members have been reviewing the applications.

Home rule extends certain authority to municipalities they wouldn’t normally have under the state’s Constitution, bringing more power to the local level.

Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe said Monday now that his city has been accepted, there are two ways his city council plans to use the new authority in the near future.

“One would be how we can go about collecting for demolition fees that we’ve done in the past as well as implementing a one percent sales tax to reduce the burden on some of our retailers and businesses within the city.”

In order to establish a one percent sales tax, cities must reduce their business and occupation taxes.

Including Clarksburg, the 16 new Home Rule cities are Bluefield, Buckhannon, Charles Town, Dunbar, Fairmont, Martinsburg, Milton, Morgantown, Nitro, Parkersburg, Ranson, Shinnston, South Charleston, Vienna and Weirton.

They join the original four cities of Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling.

Ashton Marra covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program. Ashton can also be heard Sunday evenings as she brings you state headlines during NPR’s weekend edition of All Things Considered. She joined the news team in October of 2012.

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