The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

July 9, 2013

Mayor awaiting conference to examine home rule for Beckley

BECKLEY — Beckley Mayor Emmett Pugh is a proponent of home rule but says the idea needs to be examined during next month’s West Virginia Municipal League conference before a formal application is pursued.

League members plan to meet Aug. 7-9 in Charleston, and the middle day of the gathering is to be devoted to home rule, expanded this year by the Legislature to allow membership cards to 14 cities from the original four in a pilot project.

“We’re going to go through that and get all the ins and outs, and see, and start a determination from there,” Pugh said Monday.

Pugh said he hasn’t organized a special exploratory committee yet, but intends to do so once the Municipal League winds up its annual conference.

“I think that’s going to prove invaluable, because there’s no sense in trying to go down an avenue and find out the road’s closed down there,” the mayor said.

While Pugh favors the concept of home rule, which expands the powers of municipalities, he said, “It’s a matter of what we can kind of come up with.

“The whole purpose of home rule is to make government a little bit easier and give us some tools that we don’t necessarily have now,” he said.

“We’ve seen some of the programs of home rule, like vacant building registration up in Wheeling. They’ve had some limited success up there. I like the thing Charleston is doing with on-spot citations for code enforcement. It just cuts down on the bureaucracy of things.”

Only two delegates opposed the idea in the 2013 session, and one of them, Kelli Sobonya, R-Cabell, questioned the legality of limiting home rule to 14 cities. She recently asked Attorney General Patrick Morrisey for an opinion on the constitutionality of the new law, contending that home rule should be open to any city that wishes to participate.

Home rule initially was a pilot that covered Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling and Bridgeport.

Pugh chaired the Home Rule Commission as the governor’s designee and was familiar with the original bill, but acknowledged that some changes have occurred since then, which makes the Municipal League study even more important.

“I need to familiarize myself with the whole program,” he said.

“I like it because it is from the ground up. You basically decide what you want to do on the local level and you percolate from the bottom, starting with council, and it goes all the way up to the state level.”

A home rule board would screen applications and decide which cities are to be recommended, he pointed out.

“I think we would have a pretty good chance,” Pugh added.

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • tunnel Fire closes I-77 for hours

    East River Mountain Tunnel was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel that ignited just after 3 p.m.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • PSD board will absorb initial rate increase

    The Greenbrier Public Service District No. 1 board will absorb the first phase of tiered rate increases granted to Ronceverte by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, rather than immediately passing them along to PSD customers.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sen. Manchin, brother sued by another brother for $1.7 million

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.

     

    July 26, 2014

  • couple Local couple featured in Parade Magazine

    A Beckley couple is getting their 15 minutes of fame — for the second time.

    Frank and Megan Constantino are featured in Sunday’s Parade Magazine as an example of healthy habits of happy couples.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tractor-trailer fire engulfs East River Tunnel in cloud of black smoke

    East River Mountain Tunnel near Bluefield was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel.

    July 25, 2014

  • Sen.Manchin, brother sued by another brother for $1.7 million

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.

    The suit involves funds that John Manchin claims he gave to his brothers in the late 1980s so that their carpet business could avoid bankruptcy. 

    July 25, 2014

  • twv twins One Hatfield, two actors

    If you shake hands with the cast and crew at Theatre West Virginia after the show, don’t worry if you think you’re seeing double.
    Jacob and James Cline, 12-year-old twins, are a part of the team this year, assisting  with props and portraying Little Troy Hatfield.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction begins on Meadow River Rail Trail

    Construction has finally begun on the Meadow River Rail Trail, a recreation project undertaken in a unique partnership between Greenbrier and Fayette counties.

    July 25, 2014

  • AARP reps talk future of Social Security

    The future of Social Security was on the menu at a listening session staged Thursday by AARP West Virginia at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

    July 25, 2014

  • Juvenile petitions sought against teens in Mount Hope B&Es

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is filing juvenile petitions against two Page-area teens after two businesses in the Mount Hope area were broken into early Thursday.

    July 25, 2014