UPDATE 8/12/2014 4:45 PM
Parkersburg and Vienna make their pitches.
Now, both cities wait to see if they're approved as "home rule" cities.
The board deciding which of 22 cities will be chosen for home rule designation has held two of four planned regional meetings.
Its chairman says what the board is looking for, is what sort of "outside the box" ideas applicants have, setting them apart from the competition.
"A lot of cities are talking about how they can feed off of each other, and we like that as a board. Because we know the stronger your cities are, the stronger your state is," says Patsy Trecost, Chairman of the West Virginia Home Rule Board. "An example I always give everyone, is, if one city would get a hotel, and yet, everyone who stays there eats in another city, you're creating jobs in two different fields, and that's what we're looking for."
Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell, who made his city's presentation Monday, was among those who called for the legislature to allow home rule.
Parkersburg's and Vienna's proposals both call for a partial replacement of B and O taxes with a sales tax.
But they also include allowing those cities to decide on other matters.
UPDATE 8/11/2014 5:00 PM
Twenty-two cities in competition for 17 home rule designations.
And Monday morning, four of them - including the cities of Parkersburg and Vienna - made their presentations in Wheeling to the board charged with making the final choices.
While the proposals of the two cities have their similarities, they also have their differences.
While Parkersburg and Vienna would like to levy a one cent on the dollar sales tax, the City of Parkersburg would like more leeway on dealing with dilapidated properties.
The City of Vienna would also like something similar, but it also has to deal with spills of such substances as chemicals and gasoline.
These proposals, along with those of other cities, are going to be heard by the home rule board through the early part of September.
A decision on those proposals is expected to be made in late September or early October.
"Our last meeting is in September. After that, we're going to meet as a board and choose the cities we'll allow to come into the program, so some cities are going to be disappointed. After we do that, we're going to have another meeting, because some cities may get into the program, but some things in their criteria may not get through the home rule board," says Patsy Trecost, chairman, home rule board.
The home rule committee is generally pleased with the proposals the cities made, but there is some concern about Parkersburg merging its planning and zoning boards into a single committee.
And the City of Vienna will be making an amendment to its proposal, allowing it to sell off some of its property it no longer needs at auction.
That will take place before the home rule committee makes its final decision.
The cities of Moundsville and Weirton also made presentations to the home rule board Monday morning.
UPDATE 8/8/2014 5:25 PM
Two local mayors travel to Wheeling Monday, trying to bring home rule to Parkersburg and Vienna.
Mayors Bob Newell and Randy Rapp will each have 30 minutes to present their case to join the state's home rule pilot program.
The mayors say the program would allow their cities to become more self-governing.
That means the mayor's offices and commissioners would have more authority to apply state laws more appropriately to our region.
Parkersburg and Vienna are 2 of 23 West Virginia cities applying for home rule.
Sixteen will make the cut.
"It is a little bit of a competition. I think that we're a little more confident. We're in an area of growth here. And it's very important that some of these things get changed," says Mayor Newell.
Mayor Newell says the oil and gas boom and the proposed cracker plant will help showcase that growth.
UPDATE 6/17/2014 5:10 PM
Two local mayors work together this summer, trying to bring home rule to Parkersburg and Vienna.
Mayors Bob Newell and Randy Rapp will be in Wheeling this August, presenting their case to join the state's home rule pilot program.
The program would allow Parkersburg and Vienna to become more self-governing, giving the mayor's office and commissioners authority to apply state laws more appropriately to our region.
Mayors Newell and Rapp say home rule would cut taxes here at home.
"What we need is different from what Charleston needs and Huntington needs and Wheeling needs," says Mayor Newell. "That's the whole point of home rule. It allows cities to structure fees and taxes based on what their needs are."
"it offers so many opportunities for smaller communities like us to make the rules for what's in our area," says Mayor Rapp.
Twenty-one other West Virginia cities are applying for home rule
Sixteen will be selected for the pilot program.
The Wheeling regional meeting is August 11th.
UPDATE 5/23/2014 5:00 PM
Sick of cracked sidewalks?
The City of Vienna may be able to start fixing them.
City council voted in favor of home rule Thursday.
That means the city gets to act a little more like a state, but residents might see a one cent sales tax hike.
Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp says the extra penny will go a long way.
"It's a great thing. it allows us to streamline the city processes that we use. With the money that's generated from that original fee, we'll have extra funds where we can do a lot of road improvements, we can do a lot of the infrastructure things that we just don't have the funds for a city our size," he says.
Four West Virginia cities already have home rule.
Now it's up to the state to approve Vienna too.
One June 1 the state considers adding 16 more cities, including Vienna and Parkersburg.
Vienna City Council members Thursday night were given a list of priorities as the city makes its own application to West Virginia for home rule status.
Mayor Randy Rapp said the city intends to seek a one percent sales tax, while reducing or eliminating its business and occupation taxes.
That's similar to a proposal being considered by Parkersburg City Council.
The mayor, however, could not say how much revenue a one percent sales tax could raise.
Other proposals include care of properties not up to Vienna city code, and disposal of city property by sealed bid sales instead of at public auction.