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W.Va. taking new home-rule applications in 2014

Aug. 23, 2013 @ 06:31 AM

CHARLESTON — After a successful five-year pilot program in four cities, the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Program is expanding.

Applications will be accepted between January and June.

Lawmakers have decided to let a total of 20 communities participate in the home rule program. It gives communities more power to identify state rules that restrict their ability to carry out their duties efficiently and to propose effective solutions.

Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling experimented with the program, and a legislative audit concluded it was beneficial. They increased revenue, streamlined administrative matters and simplified licensing, among other things.

Bridgeport reduced the number of business license classifications from 81 to one and replaced a range of rates with one flat $15 fee. Now, any city can create a municipal business license for multiple purposes.