Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's cities and towns could get some relief from abandoned buildings under legislation passed by the House of Delegates.
The senate now gets Gov. Joe Manchin's proposal for registering buildings deemed vacant.
Municipalities that start a registry could charge fees to the owners, and file lawsuits or liens to collect them.
They could also require out-of-state owners to provide a local contact for when public health or safety issues arise.
Fee proceeds could fund police and fire services, or cover costs from repairing, closing or tearing down vacant buildings.
Wednesday's 79-17 vote followed GOP-led concerns over granting such power to local governments.
Some also questioned the need for the measure, and alleged it threatens property rights.
(Copyright 2010 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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