The week in local government (Dec. 19)

December 19, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Dec. 15-19:

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Monday

CHARLESTON – Mayor Danny Jones showed city council racially-charged videos involving a Charleston police officer, which created a small dispute as to whether or not it was appropriate to show the videos.

ST. ALBANS – City council saw the swearing-in of a new police officer and also abolished the Property Board.

Tuesday

COUNTY (Commission) – County commissioners made it clear they want to dissolve the Upper Kanawha Valley Enterprise Community and also want to help keep public recycling alive in Kanawha County.

Thursday

COUNTY (Parks Commission) – The Parks Commission heard a presentation from the West Virginia Land Trust, which wants to improve the Wallace Hartman Nature Preserve.

SOUTH CHARLESTON – City council approved cost-of-living increases for police and fire retirees and mayoral candidate and former mayor Richie Robb confronted Mayor Frank Mullens about a FOIA request.

- – -In other local government news, the Kanawha County Parks Commission was to consider changing the name of Coonskin Park, but public outcry quickly ended that proposal; the Surface Mine Board has not yet made a decision on a mountaintop removal mining permit next to Kanawha State Forest;

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

Monday, Dec. 22

5:30 p.m. – South Charleston Library Board.

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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.

The week in local government (Dec. 12)

December 12, 2014 by Matt Murphy

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

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Tuesday

CHARLESTON – Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee discussed making an empty neighborhood center into a hub for an artist-in-residence program. The committee also received an update on an outdoor classroom being built at the Martin Luther King., Jr. Community Center.

Wednesday

CHARLESTON (CURA) – Mayor Danny Jones criticized the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority for a deal on a proposed downtown hotel.

AIRPORT – Yeager Airport officials are hoping to get federal money to install solar panels on airport property, aiming for a “net zero” energy effect.

Friday

KANAWHA SWA – The Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority learned safety conditions at the building at the Slack Street recycling center haven’t changed.

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In other local government news, Charleston is developing a master bike trail plan; a new app will offer a loyalty program for East End businesses; and the city police and community leaders discussed community race relations in the aftermath of the Ferguson, Mo., situation.

Also, filing is complete for the Charleston municipal election. For up-to-date election information, visit blogs.dailymailwv.com/cityhall/electioncenter2015.

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

Monday, Dec. 15

6:15 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, Dec. 16

8:30 a.m. – Upper Kanawha EDC.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Sanitary Board.

4 p.m. – Kanawha County Commission.

7 p.m. – Belle Town Council.

7 p.m. – East Bank Town Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro City Council.

Wednesday, Dec. 17

8:30 a.m. – Charleston CVB.

1 p.m. – South Charleston CVB.

Thursday, Dec. 18

8:45 a.m. – KRT Board.

10 a.m. – Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Noon – East End Main Street.

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 (Dec. 9)

December 9, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Action on bills in Charleston City Council for this update took place from Dec. 2-8:

ORDINANCES

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

No council meeting.

ACTION on previously introduced measures

City Council

None.

City Council Committees

No. 7635 – Zoning – Changes the zoning for the property on which a proposed drug rehab center would be built from an R-4 residential zone to a “professional or medical campus” zone. PASSED by Municipal Planning Commission on Dec. 3.  REFERRED to Planning Committee.

INTRODUCED bills on first reading.

No council meeting.

rental property license law to require licenses for properties being advertised as rentals and adjusts the license period from July to June to January to December. – See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141006/DM01/141009487/1296#sthash.fAeUpJug.dpuf

ACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7598 – Cats – This updated ordinance would set up a process for property owners to have cats removed from their property by a humane officer and the cat’s owner would be fined. TABLED by Mayor Danny Jones on Oct. 30, 2014, after bring PASSED by the Ordinance & Rules Committee on Oct. 28. Last year, the bill was TABLED 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.

No. 7637 – Parking – Absorbs the Union Building parking lot on Kanawha Boulevard into the city parking system beginning Jan. 1, 2015. REFERRED on Nov. 12 to Parking Committee by Streets & Traffic Committee.

No. 7642 – Excess Levy – Sets the rate for the excess levy at 10.06 cents for every $100 of assessed value of Class II property and 20.12 cents for every $100 of assessed value for Class IV property. The rates are the same as the current levels. The levy will be renewed or stopped by voters during the city primary election on March 7.

No. 7643 – CURA – Allows the city to add two board members to the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, taking the total number of board members to nine. The two additions would be city council members. Ordinance must be passed using Charleston’s home rule power. REFERRED to West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board.

INACTIVE remaining bills.

None.

KILLED bills.

None.

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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 (Dec. 5)

December 5, 2014 by Matt Murphy

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

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Monday

CHARLESTON – Bills were introduced in council concerning the T-Center and CURA.

DUNBAR – Council advanced a bill meant to address stray cats.

ST. ALBANS – The fire levy, which failed last month, will be on the ballot during a special election in February, city council decided.

Wednesday

CHARLESTON – The city’s Municipal Planning Commission recommended approval of rezoning for the proposed T-Center, a drug rehab facility.

Thursday

SOUTH CHARLESTON – City council received an update on pending home rule ordinances before the Municipal Home Rule board.

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In other local government news, Dr. Rahul Gupta will leave the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to run the state Bureau of Public Health; the Clay Center appointed a new director; the Municipal Home Rule Board has approved several city sales tax plans; state officials have found eDNA from Asian carp in the Kanawha River; a traffic light project in Charleston is nearly complete; the newest senator from Kanawha County will only be on the job a few weeks; and dropoff hours at the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority’s recycling center have been reduced.

Also, filing has started for the Charleston municipal election. For up-to-date election information, visit blogs.dailymailwv.com/cityhall/electioncenter2015.

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

Tuesday, Dec. 9

Noon – Charleston Parks and Recreation Committee.

7 p.m. – Handley Town Council.

7:15 p.m. – Pratt Town Council.

7:30 p.m. – Montgomery City Council.

Wednesday, Dec. 10

9 a.m. – Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.

Noon – Yeager Airport Board.

1 p.m. – South Charleston Museum Board.

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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 (Dec. 2)

December 2, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Action on bills in Charleston City Council for this update took place from Nov. 18 through Dec. 1, including council’s meeting on Dec. 1:

ORDINANCES

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

No. 7639 – Sick Leave – Changes the sick leave policy for firefighters. APPROVED by Finance Committee on Dec. 1.

No. 7640 – Sick Leave – Changes the sick leave policy for police department employees. APPROVED by Finance Committee on Dec. 1.

No. 7641 – Sick Leave – Changes the sick leave policy for regular city employees. APPROVED by Finance Committee on Dec. 1.

ACTION on previously introduced measures

None.

City Council

None.

City Council Committees

None.

INTRODUCED bills on first reading.

No. 7635 – Zoning – Changes the zoning for the property on which a proposed drug rehab center would be built from an R-4 residential zone to a “professional or medical campus” zone. REFERRED to Municipal Planning Commission and Planning Committee.

No. 7642 – Excess Levy – Sets the rate for the excess levy at 10.06 cents for every $100 of assessed value of Class II property and 20.12 cents for every $100 of assessed value for Class IV property. The rates are the same as the current levels. The levy will be renewed or stopped by voters during the city primary election on March 7.

No. 7643 – CURA – Allows the city to add two board members to the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, taking the total number of board members to nine. The two additions would be city council members. Ordinance must be passed using Charleston’s home rule power. REFERRED to West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board.

rental property license law to require licenses for properties being advertised as rentals and adjusts the license period from July to June to January to December. – See more at: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20141006/DM01/141009487/1296#sthash.fAeUpJug.dpuf

ACTIVE remaining bills.

No. 7598 – Cats – This updated ordinance would set up a process for property owners to have cats removed from their property by a humane officer and the cat’s owner would be fined. TABLED by Mayor Danny Jones on Oct. 30, 2014, after bring PASSED by the Ordinance & Rules Committee on Oct. 28. Last year, the bill was TABLED 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.

No. 7637 – Parking – Absorbs the Union Building parking lot on Kanawha Boulevard into the city parking system beginning Jan. 1, 2015. REFERRED on Nov. 12 to Parking Committee by Streets & Traffic Committee.

INACTIVE remaining bills.

None.

KILLED bills.

None.

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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 (Nov. 28)

November 28, 2014 by Matt Murphy

Here’s a recap of Daily Mail coverage related to local government this week, Nov. 24-28:

- – -

Tuesday

COUNTY (Commission) – The Kanawha County Commission voted to assist the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority with the cleanup of the Slack Street recycling center.

- – -

In other local government news, the number of cities across West Virginia with local sales taxes may triple in coming months, the state Public Service Commission is seeking firms to fix its headquarters building on Brooks Street; the Kanawha Public Service District has asked for its second rate increase in a year due to financial troubles; and the DNR reports public input on elk reintroduction has been positive so far.

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

Monday, Dec. 1

6 p.m. – Chelyan Improvement Council.

6:15 p.m. – Charleston Finance Committee.

7 p.m. – Charleston City Council.

7 p.m. – Chesapeake Town Council.

7 p.m. – Dunbar City Council.

7:30 p.m. – St. Albans City Council.

Tuesday, Dec. 2

1 p.m. – Charleston Municipal Beautification Commission.

6 p.m. – Cedar Grove Town Council.

7 p.m. – Nitro City Council.

Thursday, Dec. 4

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.

Morgantown named W.Va.’s only 2014 “Bicycle Friendly Community”

November 24, 2014 by Matt Murphy
A cyclist travels down Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston in July 2013. Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail file photo

A cyclist travels down Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston in July 2013. Bob Wojcieszak/Daily Mail file photo

Morgantown remains the only city in West Virginia named as one of the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communities,  receiving a “bronze” award this year.

This is the third year Morgantown has been named to the list. The city received a bronze award in 2012 and in 2013. Other levels were platinum, gold and silver.

According to the League, a Bicycle Friendly Community “is one that welcomes cyclists with trails, bike lanes, share the road campaigns, organized rides, Bike to Work Day events and so much more. A rich matrix of options that recognizes your area’s unique resources, the BFC application evaluates how your community encourages people to bike for transportation and recreation through the five Es: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation.”

No other cities in West Virginia received an award or were on the League’s honorable mention list, meaning either none were selected or no others applied for the program (I’m waiting to hear back from Charleston’s planning department to see if the city applied for 2014).

In neighboring states, Virginia had three silver and five bronze awardees. Pennsylvania had one silver and four bronze recipients.

Ohio had eight cities with bronze awards, Maryland had five and Kentucky had two.

Only four of the 325 named cities had platinum status – Boulder and Fort Collins, Colo.; Davis, Calif.; and Portland, Ore.

As a state, West Virginia has been slowly but surely making itself more bike-friendly.

In May, the League ranked the state 44th of 50 states in terms of bicycle friendliness after it was ranked 50th in 2008 and 2011.

In June, West Virginia joined 23 other states with “three-feet laws,” which require drivers to give cyclists three feet of space when passing. The state is also supposed to be close to signing its first U.S. Bicycle Route in the Northern Panhandle.

To be eligible for a Bicycle Friendly Community award, municipalities must first apply for program. Cities must re-apply every year, and there is no cost.

Cities wanting to apply for the program next year must do so by Feb. 11, 2015.

See this year’s full list here.