The week in local government (Sept. 12)

September 12, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Sept.8 to Sept. 12:

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Wednesday

CURA – CURA board members learned the Charleston Area Alliance is moving forward with plans for downtown, including the possible creation of a Business Improvement District.

Thursday

COUNTY (Commission) – Kanawha County Commissioners voted to partially bail out the debt-riddled Kanawha PSD. They also approved a new dispatch system that will cost over $1 million.

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In other Kanawha County local government news, the state Municipal Home Rule Board will reveal new home rule cities on Oct. 6; the redesigned Kanawha County website went live; supporters of the library levy are confident they’ll be successful in November (by Sam Speciale); Kanawha County’s clerk is upset that a possible ballot reprint will cost tens of thousands of dollars (by Dave Boucher); Charleston officials are pleased with a renewed Power-Pirates agreement, calling I-79 a “Pittsburgh Pirate corridor;” and work will start next week to repave the Slack Street recycling center.

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Here are government meetings and related events scheduled next week in Kanawha County:

Monday, Sept. 15

6:45 p.m. – Charleston Finance Committee.

7 p.m. – Charleston City Council.

7 p.m.- Dunbar City Council.

7 p.m. – Glasgow Town Council.

7 p.m. – Marmet Town Council.

7:30 p.m. – St. Albans City Council.

Tuesday, Sept. 16

8:30 a.m. – Upper Kanawha EDC.

10 a.m. – Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority. Moved one week forward.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Sanitary Board.

7 p.m. – Belle Town Council.

7 p.m. – East Bank Town Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro City Council.

Wednesday, Sept. 17

8:30 a.m. – Charleston CVB.

1 p.m. – South Charleston CVB.

Thursday, Sept. 18

8:30 a.m. – Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission.

8:45 p.m. – KRT Board of Directors.

7:30 p.m. – South Charleston City Council.

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“The Week in Local Government” is a weekly post, published around lunchtime on Fridays, that recaps the Daily Mail’s local government coverage for the week. Past editions are available by clicking on the “The Week in Government” link on the right side of this page.

Bill Watch (Sept. 9)

September 9, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Action on bills in Charleston City Council for this update took place from Sept. 3 through Sept. 9:

ORDINANCES

PASSED on second reading at city council, making the ordinance law

No council meeting.

ACTION on previously introduced measures

City Council

No council meeting.

City Council Committees

No. 7630 – Parking – Establishes a no parking zone on a section of Elmore Avenue between Preston Street and Claire Street. PASSED by Streets and Traffic Committee.

No. 7631 – Parking – Establishes a no parking zone on a section of Court Street between Lee Street and Quarrier Street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PASSED by Streets and Traffic Committee.

INTRODUCED bills on first reading.

No council meeting.

ACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7632 – Urban hunting – Formally allows persons with a Class Y crossbow permit to use a crossbow during the city’s annual urban deer hunt. Moves to Ordinance and Rules Committee.

No. 7633 – Sales tax – Establishes a one-half cent sales tax to fund police and fire pensions in the city. PASSED by Finance Committee on Aug. 19. Moves to state Municipal Home Rule Board, public hearing on Sept. 2 and city council.

No. 7634 – Housing – Renews the “Housing Consortium Cooperation Agreement” between municipalities and the county government in Kanawha County for the Charleston-Kanawha Housing Consortium for fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017. Referred to Finance Committee.

INACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7598 – CatsTABLED by council’s Ordinance & Rules Committee on Sept. 9, 2013. As written, this ordinance would place restrictions on cat ownership in city limits and other regulations on cats. Introduced by Councilman Cubert Smith. The Ordinance & Rules Committee voted to table the bill after public opposition, instead opting to look for other solutions to the city’s feral cat problem.

KILLED bills.

None.

RESOLUTIONS

Passed

No council meeting.

• Approved an agreement between the city police department and the U.S. Department of Justice for participation in the West Virginia DEA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force.

• Approved the reception of a $136,264 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund equipment for the police department. Of that amount, $93,690 will go to the city and $42,574 will go to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved a two-year agreement with ASR – West Virginia Uniforms for employee uniforms for the public works department at $247.50 per set.

• Approved spending $25,000 to fix an embankment at 708 Amity Drive. The work will be performed by K&N Contracting.

• Approved budget amendments that removed two carpenter positions and added a foreman position and operator in the street department and that moved $5,000 from the emergency services fund for the creation of a “Flood Mitigation Plan.”

- See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140819/DM01/140819186/1296#sthash.qmQjjX8z.dpuf

• Approved an agreement between the city police department and the U.S. Department of Justice for participation in the West Virginia DEA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force.

• Approved the reception of a $136,264 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund equipment for the police department. Of that amount, $93,690 will go to the city and $42,574 will go to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved a two-year agreement with ASR – West Virginia Uniforms for employee uniforms for the public works department at $247.50 per set.

• Approved spending $25,000 to fix an embankment at 708 Amity Drive. The work will be performed by K&N Contracting.

• Approved budget amendments that removed two carpenter positions and added a foreman position and operator in the street department and that moved $5,000 from the emergency services fund for the creation of a “Flood Mitigation Plan.”

- See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140819/DM01/140819186/1296#sthash.qmQjjX8z.dpuf

Rejected

No council meeting.

- – -

Bill Watch is a weekly series, published on Tuesdays, that provides updates on ordinances moving through Charleston city council and its committees. To see past posts, click the Bill Watch” topic link on the right of this page.

The week in local government (Sept. 5)

September 5, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Sept.1 to Sept. 5:

- – -

Monday

Labor Day.

Tuesday

COUNTY (Parks) – The Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the future of its executive director during a special meeting.

CHARLESTON – Charleston city council purchased a robot for the police department and passed the delayed demolition ordinance.

DUNBAR – Dunbar city council met a new police officer and a new judge.

ST. ALBANS – St. Albans city council heard more complaints about flooding in the city, as residences were simultaneously experiencing flooding due to Tuesday’s rain.

Wednesday

CHARLESTON (East End) – East End Main Street held its annual meeting at the Clay Center.

Thursday

SOUTH CHARLESTON – South Charleston city council voted to put turf on the softball field at Little Creek Park.

- – -

Here are government meetings and related events scheduled next week in Kanawha County:

Tuesday, Sept. 9

4:15 p.m. – West Side Main Street.

5 p.m. – Greater Sissonville Development Council.

6 p.m. – Cross Lanes Development Council.

7 p.m. – Handley Town Council.

7:15 p.m. – Pratt Town Council.

7:30 p.m. – Montgomery City Council.

Wednesday, Sept. 10

8:30 a.m. – Charleston BZA.

9 a.m. – Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Museum Board.

Thursday, Sept. 11

5 p.m. – Kanawha County Commission.

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“The Week in Local Government” is a weekly post, published around lunchtime on Fridays, that recaps the Daily Mail’s local government coverage for the week. Past editions are available by clicking on the “The Week in Government” link on the right side of this page.

Bill Watch (Sept. 2)

September 4, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Action on bills in Charleston City Council for this update took place from Aug. 26 through Sept. 2 (Labor Day moved council one day back this week):

ORDINANCES

PASSED on second reading at city council, making the ordinance law

No. 7628 – Delayed demolition – Establishes a process for review of demolition applications for historic properties. APPROVED by the Strong Neighborhoods Task Force on July 16. APPROVED by Municipal Planning Commission on Aug. 6. PASSED Planning Committee on Aug. 25. PASSED council on Sept. 2.

No. 7629 – Planning Commission – Formally makes procedural rules for the Municipal Planning Commission comply with state law. APPROVED by Municipal Planning Commission on Aug. 6. PASSED Planning Committee on Aug. 25. PASSED city council on Sept. 2.

ACTION on previously introduced measures

City Council

No council meeting.

City Council Committees

None.

INTRODUCED bills on first reading.

No. 7634 – Housing – Renews the “Housing Consortium Cooperation Agreement” between municipalities and the county government in Kanawha County for the Charleston-Kanawha Housing Consortium for fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017. Referred to Finance Committee.

ACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7630 – Parking – Establishes a no parking zone on a section of Elmore Avenue between Preston Street and Claire Street. Moves to Streets and Traffic Committee.

No. 7631 – Parking – Establishes a no parking zone on a section of Court Street between Lee Street and Quarrier Street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Moves to Streets and Traffic Committee.

No. 7632 – Urban hunting – Formally allows persons with a Class Y crossbow permit to use a crossbow during the city’s annual urban deer hunt. Moves to Ordinance and Rules Committee.

No. 7633 – Sales tax – Establishes a one-half cent sales tax to fund police and fire pensions in the city. PASSED by Finance Committee on Aug. 19. Moves to state Municipal Home Rule Board, public hearing on Sept. 2 and city council.

INACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7598 – CatsTABLED by council’s Ordinance & Rules Committee on Sept. 9, 2013. As written, this ordinance would place restrictions on cat ownership in city limits and other regulations on cats. Introduced by Councilman Cubert Smith. The Ordinance & Rules Committee voted to table the bill after public opposition, instead opting to look for other solutions to the city’s feral cat problem.

KILLED bills.

None.

RESOLUTIONS

Passed

493-14 – Authorizes the mayor to apply for a FY 2014 Emergency Management Performance Grant from the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

494-14 – Authorized two budget amendments for licenses for two computer programs.

495-14 – Spends $99,800 to build a retaining wall on Buena Vista Drive following a water main break. West Virginia American Water will fully reimburse the city.

496-14 – Approves the purchase of pumps and materials for the Virginia Street underpass on the West Side at a cost of $64,100. The existing pumps failed during a recent rainstorm, causing flooding.

497-14 – Approves $56,000 for renovations to the Metro Drug Enforcement property. Tom Grishaber Builders was selected to do the work.

• Approved an agreement between the city police department and the U.S. Department of Justice for participation in the West Virginia DEA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force.

• Approved the reception of a $136,264 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund equipment for the police department. Of that amount, $93,690 will go to the city and $42,574 will go to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved a two-year agreement with ASR – West Virginia Uniforms for employee uniforms for the public works department at $247.50 per set.

• Approved spending $25,000 to fix an embankment at 708 Amity Drive. The work will be performed by K&N Contracting.

• Approved budget amendments that removed two carpenter positions and added a foreman position and operator in the street department and that moved $5,000 from the emergency services fund for the creation of a “Flood Mitigation Plan.”

- See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140819/DM01/140819186/1296#sthash.qmQjjX8z.dpuf

• Approved an agreement between the city police department and the U.S. Department of Justice for participation in the West Virginia DEA High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Task Force.

• Approved the reception of a $136,264 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund equipment for the police department. Of that amount, $93,690 will go to the city and $42,574 will go to the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office.

• Approved a two-year agreement with ASR – West Virginia Uniforms for employee uniforms for the public works department at $247.50 per set.

• Approved spending $25,000 to fix an embankment at 708 Amity Drive. The work will be performed by K&N Contracting.

• Approved budget amendments that removed two carpenter positions and added a foreman position and operator in the street department and that moved $5,000 from the emergency services fund for the creation of a “Flood Mitigation Plan.”

- See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20140819/DM01/140819186/1296#sthash.qmQjjX8z.dpuf

Rejected

None.

- – -

Bill Watch is a weekly series, published on Tuesdays, that provides updates on ordinances moving through Charleston city council and its committees. To see past posts, click the Bill Watch” topic link on the right of this page.

W.Va. cities slowly but surely getting in on social media

September 2, 2014 by Matt Murphy

The number of West Virginia city governments on social media continues to increase, slowly but surely.

On Aug. 20, Charleston became one of the more recent cities to create a Facebook page (though the city had been on Twitter for some time).

City governments in West Virginia range from the extreme ends of the “connectivity” spectrum. Some cities, like Cedar Grove, don’t even have e-mail access (at least not as of 2013), while others, like Huntington, have a very active media presence.

The topic has bubbled up a few times in the muni government realm, including at the West Virginia Municipal League’s annual conference in August.

I’ve tried to make a list of West Virginia cities and their social media accounts below. I know there will be some I miss (especially outside Kanawha County), so please point out omissions or e-mail me at matt.murphy@dailymailwv.com.

This list is only for city or county government accounts, and doesn’t include other pages, like for police or fire departments.

- – -

Kanawha County

Charleston – FacebookTwitter

Dunbar – Facebook

South Charleston – Facebook

 

Other counties

Bluefield – Facebook

Charles Town – Facebook

Clarksburg – FacebookTwitter

Fairmont – FacebookTwitter

Huntington – FacebookTwitter

Morgantown – Twitter

Parkersburg – FacebookTwitter

Wheeling – FacebookTwitter

 

This week in local government (Aug. 29)

August 29, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Aug. 25 to Aug. 29:

- – -

Monday

CHARLESTON – Charleston council’s Planning Committee approved a delayed demolition ordinance for historic properties.

Thursday

COUNTY (Commission) – Kanawha County commissioners learned 23 parcels in Kanawha County are actually being taxed in Lincoln County.

CHARLESTON – Charleston council’s Environment & Recycling Committee learned the city must collect more recycling than at present in order to receive royalties (by Marcus Constantino).

- – -

In other Kanawha County local government news, trash bag distribution begins in Charleston in a few weeks, though there will be fewer places to redeem vouchers; Mayor Danny Jones called for a special prosecutor in the Edward Gardner case, then rescinded his request Thursday; the band “Everclear” will headline West Side Main Street’s OktoberWest; the Staats Hospital project on the West Side was awarded a state grant to assist with roof repairs; a group related to the animal shelter is compiling a list of pet-friendly landlords; road slips are causing problems for the state Division of Highways; and local governments are starting to receive checks for FEMA reimbursement money for the Freedom Industries chemical leak.

- – -

Here are government meetings and related events scheduled next week in Kanawha County:

Monday, Sept. 1

Labor Day – Government offices closed, most meetings moved to Tuesday.

Tuesday, Sept. 2

10 a.m. – Kanawha County Parks Commission  (special meeting).

1 p.m. – Charleston Municipal Beautification Commission.

6 p.m. – Cedar Grove Town Council.

6:30 p.m. – Charleston Finance Committee.

7 p.m. – Charleston City Council.

7 p.m. – Chesapeake Town Council.

7 p.m. – Dunbar City Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro City Council.

7:30 p.m. – St. Albans City Council.

Wednesday, Sept. 3

5:30 p.m. – East End Main Street Annual Meeting.

Thursday, Sept. 4

7:30 p.m. – South Charleston City Council.

- – -
“The Week in Local Government” is a weekly post, published around lunchtime on Fridays, that recaps the Daily Mail’s local government coverage for the week. Past editions are available by clicking on the “The Week in Government” link on the right side of this page.

Some Morgantown business owners oppose Home Rule sales tax

August 26, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Monday marked the fourth of five regional meetings around West Virginia for cities to present their home rule proposals to the state Municipal Home Rule Board.

If you haven’t kept up, 23 cities have applied for 16 new slots in the West Virginia Home Rule Pilot Program. Those cities have collectively identified more than three dozen issues they’d like to address with home rule.

As part of the selection process, the Home Rule Board is holding regional meetings to hear presentations from each applicant city. After the hearings, the board will select the 16 new cities.

Those meetings were in Beckley on July 7, Charleston on Aug. 4, Wheeling on Aug. 11 and Bridgeport on Monday. The last meeting will be in Martinsburg on Sept. 8.

St. Albans’ application was rejected during the Charleston-based hearing on Aug. 4 because the city failed to complete the application requirements before the June 1 deadline (The Daily Mail pointed this out in June).

During Monday’s hearing in Bridgeport, at least two Morgantown business owners opposed the city’s proposal for a one-percent sales tax, according to articles from the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram (read here) and Morgantown Dominion-Post (read here).

This was the first instance I’m aware of where several community members attended a home rule hearing to oppose their city’s home rule application – notably on one issue.

Of course, there have been some instances of opposition to home rule, but that’s occurred at the municipal level before applications were due.

Of the 22 remaining home rule applications, 15 want to create municipal sales taxes. Assuming the 16 cities selected aren’t forced to amend their home rule plans, that means at least nine additional cities will have local sales taxes when all is said and done.

So far, seven municipalities in West Virginia have local sales taxes – a figure which includes three current home rule cities: Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling.

If you’d like to read more about the subject, check out this blog post I wrote a few weeks back about local sales taxes in West Virginia and how they compare with other cities and states.