Senate
House
Joint
Bill Status
WV Code
Audits/ Reports
Educational
Contact
home
home

Engrossed Version Senate Bill 159 History

OTHER VERSIONS  -  Introduced Version  |     |  Email


SB159 SUB1 eng
ENGROSSED

COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR

Senate Bill No. 159

(By Senators Tomblin, Mr. President,

McCabe, Bowman, Plymale, Barnes, Foster, Minard, Unger and Jenkins)

____________

[Originating in the Committee on Government Organization;

reported March 15, 2005.]

____________


A BILL to repeal §8-8-1 , §8-8-2, §8-8-3, §8-8-4, §8-8-5, §8-8-6, §8-8-7, §8-8-8, §8-8-9, §8-8-10, §8-8-11, §8-8-12, §8-8-13, §8-8-14, §8-8-15, §8-8-16, §8-8-17 and §8-8-18 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended ; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new chapter, designated §7A-1-1, §7A-1-2, §7A-1-3, §7A-1-4, §7A-2-1, §7A-2-2, §7A-2-3, §7A-2-4, §7A-3-1, §7A-3-2, §7A-3-3, §7A-3-4, §7A-3-5, §7A-3-6, §7A-3-7, §7A-4-1, §7A-4-2, §7A-4-3, §7A-5-1, §7A-5-2, §7A-5-3, §7A-5-4, §7A-5-5, §7A-5-6, §7A-5-7, §7A-6-1, §7A-6-2, §7A-6-3, §7A-6-4, §7A-6-5, §7A-6-6, §7A-6-7, §7A-7-1, §7A-7-2, §7A-7-3, §7A-7-4, §7A-7-5, §7A-7-6, §7A-7-7, §7A-7-8, §7A-7-9 and §7A-8-1, all relating to creating the Consolidated Local Government Act; stating legislative findings and definitions; authorizing municipal consolidation, county consolidation, metro consolidation and metro-metro consolidation; establishing powers to be construed broadly; stating local consolidated government to be treated like municipality in municipal consolidation, county in county consolidation and municipality and county in metro consolidation; addressing jurisdiction and limitations of consolidated local governments; commencing consolidation by petition from voters or resolution by governing bodies; creating charter review committees; stating powers of charter review committees; allowing reimbursement of expenses for committee members; submitting charter review committee budget to governing bodies; studying consolidation; addressing territory, fiscal impact, name, seat, representation, governing body, effective date, transition of service and dissolution in charter review committee; drafting proposed charter; providing multiple public hearings; approving proposed charter and submitting proposed charter to governing bodies to hold elections; providing election by voters of each affected local government for municipal consolidation, county consolidation, metro consolidation and metro-metro consolidation; permitting reconsideration of second proposed charter if first is defeated; leaving municipalities incorporated in metro consolidation; disallowing new consolidation effort for two years after defeat; allowing subsequent joining of local governments to consolidated local government; describing metro-metro consolidation; and permitting charter to be amended.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §8-8-1
, §8-8-2, §8-8-3, §8-8-4, §8-8-5, §8-8-6, §8-8-7, §8-8-8, §8-8-9, §8-8-10, §8-8-11, §8-8-12, §8-8-13, §8-8-14, §8-8- 15, §8-8-16, §8-8-17 and §8-8-18 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be repealed ; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new chapter, designated §7A-1-1, §7A-1-2, §7A-1-3, §7A-1-4, §7A-2-1, §7A-2-2, §7A-2-3, §7A-2-4, §7A-3-1, §7A-3-2, §7A- 3-3, §7A-3-4, §7A-3-5, §7A-3-6, §7A-3-7, §7A-4-1, §7A-4-2, §7A-4-3, §7A-5-1, §7A-5-2, §7A-5-3, §7A-5-4, §7A-5-5, §7A-5-6, §7A-5-7, §7A- 6-1, §7A-6-2, §7A-6-3, §7A-6-4, §7A-6-5, §7A-6-6, §7A-6-7, §7A-7-1, §7A-7-2, §7A-7-3, §7A-7-4, §7A-7-5, §7A-7-6, §7A-7-7, §7A-7-8, §7A- 7-9 and §7A-8-1, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 7A. CONSOLIDATED LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS.
§7A-1-1. Short Title.
This chapter may be known and cited as the "Consolidated Local Government Act".
§7A-1-2. Legislative findings.
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) The fiscal viability of municipal and county governments is challenged by changing demographics and tax bases;
(2) With many local governments there is significant duplicity of services;
(3) Certain local governments are at their taxable limits and yet are facing fee increases to remain financially viable; and
(4) Local governments should perform at the highest levels of efficiency and economy while providing the highest standards of governmental services to their citizens.
(b) The Legislature finds that consolidation of local governments:
(1) Is in the public interest;
(2) Would help promote economic growth and development;
(3) Would help local governments provide more efficient local services and more effective public administration; and
(4) Would keep local governments viable and provide more governing flexibility.
(c) Therefore, in order to attain high standards of efficiency, economy, service and flexibility and to assure the ongoing improvement in the quality of life of all citizens of the state, the Legislature hereby encourages and permits all local governments to consolidate part or all of their governmental and corporate functions.
§7A-1-3. Definitions.
For the purposes of this article, the following words have the meanings assigned unless the context indicates otherwise:
(1) "Affected municipality", "affected county", "affected metro government" or "affected area", or the plural, mean municipalities, counties or metro governments in the territory encompassed by the proposed charter of a consolidated local government.
(2) "Consolidated local government", or the plural, means a new classification of government and encompasses municipal consolidation, county consolidation, metro consolidation and metro- metro consolidation.
(3) "County consolidation" and "consolidated county" mean the consolidation of two or more counties as defined by the charter.
(4) "Governing body", or the plural, means the body charged with the responsibility of enacting laws and determining public policy of a municipal or county government or local consolidated government.
(5) "Metro consolidation" and "metro government" mean the consolidation of one or more counties and a principal city or a metro government with a county or municipality as defined by the charter.
(6) "Metro-metro consolidation" and "metro-metro government" mean the consolidation of two or more metro governments, with additional counties or municipalities, as defined by the charter.
(7) "Municipal consolidation" and "consolidated municipality" mean the consolidation of two or more municipalities, including cities, towns and villages, as defined by the charter.
(8) "Principal city" means the city with the largest population in the territory encompassed by the proposed charter of the consolidated local government.
§7A-1-4. Authority to consolidate.

A municipality, county or metro government in this state is authorized to form a consolidated local government with another municipality, county or metro government upon approval by the voters of the affected areas.
ARTICLE 2. POWERS AND LIMITATIONS.
§7A-2-1. Powers and privileges of consolidated local government.

(a) A consolidated local government shall have, but not be limited to, all powers and privileges of a municipality for a municipal consolidation, a county for a county consolidation and both a municipality and a county for a metro or metro-metro consolidation under the Constitution and general laws of West Virginia.
(b) In addition, a consolidated local government shall have the power and authority to:
(1) Levy and collect taxes on all property taxable for state purposes within the territory of the consolidated local government not exempt by law from taxation and at a rate not in excess of that allowed by law;
(2) License, tax, charge fees and regulate privileges, occupations, trades and professions as authorized by law;
(3) Make appropriations for the support of the consolidated local government and provide for the payment of all debts and expenses of the consolidated local government and the debts and expenses of the local governments of which it is the successor;
(4) Issue or cause to be issued bonds and other debt instruments or enter into all other financial transactions as may be permitted by law;
(5) Purchase, lease, construct, maintain or otherwise acquire, hold, use and operate any property, real, personal or mixed, for any public purpose and sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any property, real, personal or mixed, belonging to a consolidated local government;
(6) Exercise the power of eminent domain for any public purpose subject to the limitations and exceptions prescribed by the Constitution and the general laws of West Virginia;
(7) Accept federal or state funds and other sources of revenue that are applicable to counties and municipalities;
(8) Pass and enforce by fines and penalties, if necessary, all ordinances, not inconsistent with law, as are expedient in maintaining the peace, safety, good government, health and welfare of the residents of the consolidated local government;
(9) Provide for the redevelopment, renewal or rehabilitation of blighted, deteriorated or dilapidated areas;
(10) Enforce land use regulations; and

(11) Enter into contracts and agreements with other governmental entities and with private persons, firms and corporations and address cooperative compacts in existence at the time of consolidation.
(c) A consolidated local government shall continue to exercise its powers and privileges notwithstanding repeal or amendment of any laws upon which the powers and privileges are based unless expressly pertaining to consolidated local governments.
(d) Consolidated local governments created under this chapter are entitled to all state and federal monetary assistance to the same extent a municipality or county is entitled to such assistance. A metro or metro-metro government shall have the status of a city and county for purposes of receiving state, federal and any other monetary assistance and the population of the territory encompassed by its charter shall be used for all calculations and distributions.
(e) The powers of the consolidated local government shall be construed broadly in its favor. The specific reference, or failure to do so, of particular powers in this section shall not be construed as limiting the general or specific powers of a consolidated local government.
(f) A consolidated local government acquires and succeeds to all rights, obligations, duties and privileges of the governments of which it is a successor in accordance with the terms of the charter.
(g) Without the necessity or formality of deed, bill of sale or other instrument of transfer, the consolidated local government becomes the owner of all property, assets, contracts and franchises within the territory encompassed by the charter previously belonging to the governments of which it is a successor.
§7A-2-2. Jurisdiction.

A consolidated local government shall have power and jurisdiction throughout the total territory encompassed by its charter.
§7A-2-3. Continued existence of laws.
Rules, ordinances, resolutions and other effects of law in force within an affected municipality, county, metro or metro-metro government at the time of consolidation that do not conflict with the charter remain in effect until superceded by specific action of the new governing body of the consolidated local government.
§7A-2-4.Limitations of a consolidated local government.
(a) Public school districts, library districts and public service districts are not affected by consolidation under this chapter unless dissolved as prescribed by law.
(b) The adoption of a charter does not alter any right or liability of an affected municipality, county or metro government in effect at the time the charter becomes effective. Ordinances and resolutions relating to public improvements to be paid for, in whole or in part, by special assessments shall remain in effect until paid in full.
ARTICLE 3. INITIATING CONSOLIDATION AND ESTABLISHING CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE.

§7A-3-1. Initiating consolidation.
(a) Consolidation may be initiated by:

(1) A petition signed by at least fifteen percent of the qualified voters in the affected municipality, county or metro government proposing consolidation; or
(2) A resolution by the governing body of
each affected municipality for a municipal consolidation, each affected county for a county consolidation and each affected principal city, county and metro government for a metro or metro-metro consolidation .
(b) The petition or resolution shall be submitted to the respective county commission of the affected county or the governing body of a metro government proposing consolidation.
(c) Upon receipt by the respective county commission or the governing body of the metro government of the petition or resolution proposing consolidation, the governing body shall, within thirty days, verify the petition or resolution proposing consolidation and either oversee the establishment of a charter review committee as provided for in this chapter or reject the petition or resolution proposing consolidation for insufficiency.
(d) If the governing body rejects the petition or resolution proposing consolidation, the rejection shall be in writing, stating how the insufficiency may be corrected and that the petition or resolution may be resubmitted within ninety days.
§7A-3-2. Municipal charter review committee.
(a) A municipal charter review committee shall be established within thirty days of the county commission verifying the petition or resolution proposing consolidation.
(b) A municipal charter review committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) Two government officials or their designees from each affected municipality appointed by their respective governing bodies;
(2) One county commissioner or his or her designee appointed by the county commission from each county where the affected municipalities are located; and
(3) Two or three public members elected during executive session by the other members to make the number of charter review committee members odd.
(c) A municipal charter review committee shall continue to exist until it is dissolved pursuant to the charter or the final disapproval of the charter.
§7A-3-3. County charter review committee.
(a) A county charter review committee shall be established within thirty days of the county commissions verifying the petition or resolution proposing consolidation.
(b) A county charter review committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) Two county commissioners or their designees from each affected county appointed by their respective county commissions; and
(2) Three public members, including one from an unincorporated area, elected during executive session by the other charter review committee members.
(c) A county charter review committee shall continue to exist until it is dissolved pursuant to the charter or the final disapproval of the charter.
§7A-3-4. Metro charter review committee.
(a) A metro charter review committee shall be established within thirty days of the county commission or the governing body of a metro government verifying the petition or resolution proposing consolidation.
(b) For principal city-county consolidation, the metro charter review committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) Two government officials or their designees from the principal city appointed by the governing body of the principal city;
(2) If the principal city is located in two counties, then one county commissioner or his or her designee from the county not participating in consolidation appointed by the respective county commission;
(3) Two county commissioners or their designees from each affected county appointed by their respective county commissions; and
(4) Two or three public members, including one from an unincorporated area, elected during executive session by the other members to make the number of charter review committee members odd.
(c) For metro-metro consolidation, the metro charter review committee shall consist of the following members:
(1) Two government officials or their designees from each affected metro government appointed by their respective governing bodies;
(2) If additional counties or municipalities are joining in the consolidation, then one government official or his or her designee from each affected municipality or county appointed by their respective governing bodies; and
(3) Two or three public members elected during executive session by the other members to make the number of charter review committee members odd.
(d) A metro charter review committee shall continue to exist until it is dissolved pursuant to the charter or the final disapproval of the charter.
§7A-3-5. Duties and powers of charter review committee.
(a) A charter review committee shall study consolidation and the feasibility of consolidation.
(b) A charter review committee has the power to:
(1) Elect its officers from committee members;
(2) Adopt rules;
(3) Prepare a budget;
(4) Conduct public hearings;
(5) Create subcommittees and working groups to include other government officials and diverse representation of the public;
(6) Prepare a written charter;
(7) Employ staff;
(8) Contract with consultants;
(9) Work with agencies of affected local governments; and
(10) Other powers that are needed to facilitate the intent of this chapter.
(c) A majority of committee members present constitutes a quorum for transaction of business and adopting the charter.
(d) Vacancies on the charter review committees shall be filled in substantially the same manner as provided for in this article.
§7A-3-6. Expenses of charter review committee.
Members of a charter review committee shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed by the charter review committee for necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their official duties.
§7A-3-7. Budget of charter review committee.
(a) A charter review committee shall submit a budget to the governing bodies of the affected municipalities, counties and metro governments. A charter review committee shall pursue public and private funds to augment its budget. The budget shall state in writing the amount each governing body shall pay, which shall be proportionately based on population.
(b) Within ten days of receiving the charter review committee's budget, the governing bodies of the affected municipalities, counties and metro governments shall either approve the budget or recommend written amendments to the budget.
(c) If amendments are recommended, then the charter review committee shall reconsider the budget and resubmit the budget to the governing bodies for approval within ten days.
(d) The governing bodies of affected municipalities, counties and metro governments shall assist the charter review committee and provide office space if needed.
ARTICLE 4. CHARTER REVIEW COMMITTEE.
§7A-4-1. Study by charter review committee and draft of proposed charter.

(a) The charter review committee shall study matters relating to the feasability of consolidation.
(b) The charter review committee shall further address the powers and authority of the proposed consolidated local government, including, but not limited to:
(1) The territory encompassed by the consolidated local government, including all affected municipalities, counties and metro governments, or parts thereof, to be included in the boundaries of the consolidated local government;
(2) The fiscal impact of the proposed consolidation on the affected municipalities, counties and metro governments including:
(A) The cost of providing services to the consolidated local government;
(B) Projected revenues available to the consolidated local government based upon proposed classifications and tax structures; and
(C) Projected economies of scale resulting from consolidation;
(3) The name of the proposed consolidated local government;
(4) The seat of the proposed consolidated local government;
(5) The representation plan based upon population for the territory encompassed by the consolidation consistent with state and federal law;
(6) The creation of the governing body of the proposed consolidated local government, including an odd number of governing officers of not less than five, their qualifications for holding office, titles, powers, duties, terms of office, manner of election, compensation, method of removal and other pertinent matters consistent with state and federal law;
(7) The effective date of the charter once consolidation is approved by the electorate;
(8) A procedure for the orderly and timely transition of specified services, functions and responsibilities from each affected municipality, county, metro or metro-metro government and their respective departments and agencies to the consolidated local government to occur within two years from the date the charter becomes effective; and
(9) The method by which a consolidated local government may dissolve being in effect for a minimum of six years.
(c) The charter review committee shall complete its study and draft a proposed charter within one year from the date of its organizational meeting.
§7A-4-2. Public Hearings.
(a) The charter review committee shall hold a public hearing within three months of the organizational meeting or reconvening, a public hearing within six months of its organizational meeting or reconvening and a public hearing within eleven months its organizational meeting prior to finalizing its draft of the proposed charter. The committee is authorized to hold additional public hearings as warranted.
(b) The date, time, place and agenda of the public hearing shall be published as a Class II legal advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area at least ten days prior to each public hearing.
§7A-4-3. Approval of proposed charter and submission to governing bodies.

(a) Following its final public hearing, the charter review committee shall vote on the proposed charter.
(b) Once approved by a majority vote of the charter review committee, the proposed charter shall be submitted within ten days to the governing bodies of the affected municipalities, counties and metro governments to be voted upon by the electorate.
ARTICLE 5. MUNICIPAL CONSOLIDATION ELECTION.
§7A-5-1. Expenses for election.

The governing body of each affected municipality is responsible for the expenses of holding an election on the question of municipal consolidation.
§7A-5-2. Notice for election
.
(a) At least sixty days prior to the election on the question of municipal consolidation, the governing body of each affected municipality shall make copies of the proposed charter available to the public.
(b) At least fourteen days prior to the election on the question of municipal consolidation, the governing bodies of the affected municipalities shall publish the proposed charter and provide notice of the election, as a Class I legal advertisement, in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area. The affected municipalities may share the expense of publication.
§7A-5-3 . Election and ballots for municipal consolidation.
(a) Within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the proposed charter from the municipal charter review committee, the governing bodies of the affected municipalities shall hold an election on the question of consolidation. The elections in the affected municipalities shall be held on the same day in accordance with applicable election laws.
(b) The ballots for the election on consolidation shall be as follows:
[ ] For charter proposing consolidation
[ ] Against charter proposing consolidation.
§7A-5-4. Approval of municipal consolidation and charter.
If a majority of the qualified voters in each of the affected municipalities approves consolidation, then consolidation becomes effective pursuant to the charter.
§7A-5-5. Rejection of charter and reconsideration process.

(a) If a majority of the qualified voters in any of the affected municipalities rejects consolidation, then the municipal charter review committee may reconvene for up to six months to adopt a second proposed charter.
(b) When the second proposed charter is adopted by the municipal charter review committee, then the governing bodies of the affected municipalities shall hold another election on the second proposed charter within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the second proposed charter from the municipal charter review committee. The elections in the affected municipalities shall be held on the same day and in accordance with applicable election laws.
(c) The ballots for the election on the second proposed charter shall be as follows:
[ ] For charter proposing consolidation
[ ] Against charter proposing consolidation.
(d) If the second proposed charter is rejected by a majority of the qualified voters in the affected municipalities, then the proposed consolidation is defeated. A new municipal charter review committee cannot be established for at least two years after the second proposed charter is defeated.
§7A-5-6. Filing charter.

After the charter has been approved by a majority of the qualified voters in the affected areas, the charter shall be filed with the Secretary of State and recorded in the applicable county clerk's office.
§7A-5-7. Subsequent joining of municipality to consolidated municipality.

(a) After a consolidated municipality has been in existence for at least one year, a municipality that is not part of the consolidated municipality may join the consolidated municipality by:
(1) A petition signed by at least fifteen percent of the qualified voters in the municipality; or
(2) A resolution by the governing body of the municipality.
(b) Within thirty days of receipt of the petition or resolution from the municipality to the governing body of the consolidated municipality, the governing body of the consolidated municipality shall vote to accept or reject the municipality joining the consolidated municipality.
(c) If the governing body of the consolidated municipality votes to accept the municipality joining the consolidated municipality, then the municipality shall, within one hundred twenty days of acceptance, hold an election on consolidation. The election shall be held in accordance with applicable election laws.
(d) The ballots for the election on consolidation shall be as follows:
[ ] For the (name of consolidated municipality) charter
[ ] Against the (name of consolidated municipality) charter.
(e) If a majority of the qualified voters in the municipality approves consolidation, then the municipality becomes part of the consolidated municipality.
(f) If consolidation is rejected by a majority of the qualified voters in the municipality, then the consolidation is defeated and cannot be voted upon for one year.
ARTICLE 6. ELECTIONS ON COUNTY CONSOLIDATION.
§7A-6-1. Expenses for election.

The governing body of each affected county is responsible for its expenses of holding an election on the question of county consolidation.
§7A-6-2. Notice for election
.
(a) At least sixty days prior to the election on the question of county consolidation, the governing body of each affected county shall make copies of the proposed charter available to the public.
(b) At least fourteen days prior to the election on the question of county consolidation, the governing bodies of the affected counties shall publish the proposed charter and provide notice of the election, as a Class I legal advertisement, in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected area. The affected counties may share the expense of publication.
§7A-6-3 . Election and ballots for county consolidation.
(a) Within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the proposed charter from the county charter review committee, the governing bodies of the affected counties shall hold an election on the question of consolidation. The elections in the affected counties shall be held on the same day in accordance with applicable election laws.
(b) The ballots for the election on consolidation shall be as follows:
[ ] For charter proposing consolidation
[ ] Against charter proposing consolidation.
§7A-6-4. Approval of county consolidation and charter.
If a majority of the qualified voters in each of the affected counties approves consolidation, then consolidation becomes effective pursuant to the charter.
§7A-6-5. Rejection of charter and reconsideration process.
(a) If a majority of the qualified voters in any of the affected counties rejects consolidation, then the county charter review committee may reconvene for up to six months to adopt a second proposed charter.
(b) When the second proposed charter is adopted by the county charter review committee, then the governing bodies of the affected counties shall hold another election on the second proposed charter within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the second proposed charter from the county charter review committee. The elections in the affected counties shall be held on the same day and in accordance with applicable election laws.
(c) The ballots for the election on the second proposed charter shall be as follows:
[ ] For charter proposing consolidation
[ ] Against charter proposing consolidation.
(d) If the second proposed charter is rejected by a majority of the qualified voters in the affected counties, then the proposed consolidation is defeated. A new county charter review committee cannot be established for at least two years after the second proposed charter is defeated.
§7A-6-6. Filing charter.

After the charter has been approved by a majority of the qualified voters in the affected areas, the charter shall be filed with the Secretary of State and recorded in all of the applicable county clerk's offices.
§7A-6-7. Subsequent joining of county to consolidated county government.

(a) After a consolidated county government has been in existence for at least one year, a county that is not part of the consolidated county may join the consolidated county by:
(1) A petition signed by at least fifteen percent of the qualified voters in the county; or
(2) A resolution by the governing body of the county.
(b) Within thirty days of receipt of the petition or resolution from the county to the governing body of the consolidated county, the governing body of the consolidated county shall vote to accept or reject the county joining the consolidated county.
(c) If the governing body of the consolidated county votes to accept the county joining the consolidated county, then the county shall, within one hundred twenty days of acceptance, hold an election on consolidation. The election shall be held in accordance with applicable election laws.
(d) The ballots for the election on consolidation shall be as follows:
[ ] For the (name of consolidated county) charter
[ ] Against the (name of consolidated county) charter.
(e) If a majority of the qualified voters in the county approves the consolidation, then the county becomes part of the consolidated county.
(f) If consolidation is rejected by a majority of the qualified voters in the county, then the consolidation is defeated and cannot be voted upon for one year.
ARTICLE 7. ELECTIONS ON METRO GOVERNMENT.
§7A-7-1. Expenses for election.

The governing body of each affected county or metro government is responsible for the expenses of holding an election on the question of metro government and the proposed charter.
§7A-7-2. Notice for election
.
(a) At least sixty days prior to the election on the question of metro government and the proposed charter, each governing body of the principal city, affected county and metro government shall make copies of the proposed charter available to the public.
(b) At least fourteen days prior to the election on the question of metro government and the proposed charter, the governing body of each affected county or metro government shall publish the proposed charter and provide notice of the election, as a Class I legal advertisement, in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected areas.
§7A-7-3. Election and ballots for metro government.
(a) Within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the proposed charter from the metro charter review committee, the governing body of each affected county and metro government shall hold an election on the question of metro government and the proposed charter. The elections in the affected county or metro government shall be held on the same day in accordance with applicable election laws.
(b) The ballots for the election on consolidation shall be as follows:
[ ] For charter proposing consolidation
[ ] Against charter proposing consolidation.
§7A-7-4. Approval of metro government and charter.
If a majority of the qualified voters in the principal city and a majority of the qualified voters in the affected county or metro government approve consolidation, then metro government becomes effective pursuant to the charter.
§7A-7-5. Rejection of charter and reconsideration process.
(a) If a majority of the qualified voters in the principal city, or the affected county or metro government rejects consolidation, then the metro charter review committee may reconvene for up to six months to adopt a second proposed charter.
(b) When the second proposed charter is adopted by the metro charter review committee, then the governing bodies of the affected county or metro government shall hold another election on the second proposed charter within one hundred twenty days of receipt of the second proposed charter from the metro charter review committee. The elections in the affected county or metro government shall be held on the same day and in accordance with applicable election laws.
(c) The ballots for the election on the second proposed charter shall be as follows:
[ ] For charter proposing consolidation
[ ] Against charter proposing consolidation.
(d) If the second proposed charter is rejected by a majority of the qualified voters in the principal city, or affected county or metro government, then the proposed consolidation is defeated. A new metro charter review committee cannot be established for at least two years after the second proposed charter is defeated.
§7A-7-6. Municipalities within territory remain incorporated in metro government.

Upon the approval by voters of metro consolidation, municipalities within the territory of the metro government shall remain incorporated and shall continue to perform their functions as permitted by law unless dissolved or consolidated into the metro government pursuant to section eight of this article.
§7A-7-7. Filing charter.

After the charter has been approved by a majority of the qualified voters in the affected areas, the charter shall be filed with the Secretary of State and recorded in the applicable county clerk's offices.
§7A-7-8. Subsequent joining of municipalities or counties to metro government.

(a) After a metro government has been in existence for at least one year, a municipality or county that is not part of the metro government may join the metro government by:
(1) A petition signed by at least fifteen percent of the qualified voters in the municipality or county; or
(2) A resolution by the governing body of the municipality or county.
(b) Within thirty days of receipt of the petition or resolution from the municipality or county to the governing body of the metro government, the governing body of the metro government shall vote to accept or reject the municipality or county joining the metro government.
(c) If the governing body of the metro government votes to accept the municipality or county joining the metro government, then the municipality or county shall, within one hundred twenty days of acceptance, hold an election on consolidation. The election shall be held in accordance with applicable election laws.
(d) The ballots for the election on consolidation shall be as follows:
[ ] For the (name of metro government) charter
[ ] Against the (name of metro government) charter.
(e) If a majority of the qualified voters in the municipality or county approves consolidation, then the municipality or county becomes part of the metro government.
(f) If consolidation is rejected by a majority of the qualified voters of the municipality or county, then the consolidation is defeated and cannot be voted upon for one year.
§7A-7-9. Metro-metro consolidation.
(a) Two or more metro governments that have been in existence for at least one year may consolidate and may include other municipalities or counties in the consolidation by following the procedures to initiate consolidation, establish a metro charter review committee, study consolidation and prepare a charter pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and hold an election on the proposed charter pursuant to this article.
(b) There may be more than one principal city in a metro-metro consolidation.
(c) The intent of this chapter is to promote consolidation and the provisions of this chapter shall be construed broadly to permit metro-metro consolidations.
(d) The specific reference, or failure to do so, of particular provisions in this chapter shall not be construed as limiting the general or specific powers of metro-metro governments.
ARTICLE 8. CHARTER AMENDMENT.
§7A-8-1. Charter amendment.

(a) If a charter is adopted, it may be amended by one of the following methods:
(1) The governing body of the consolidated local government, by resolution, may submit a proposed amendment to the voters at a general election or at a special election and the proposed amendment becomes effective upon approval by a majority of those voting within the consolidated local government;
(2) The governing body of the consolidated local government, by ordinance, may amend the charter. However, within thirty days following publication of the ordinance, if a petition signed by at least ten percent of the qualified voters of the consolidated local government is filed with the governing body of the consolidated local government, the governing body shall submit the charter amendment to the voters at a special election. The amendment becomes effective upon approval of a majority of those voting within the consolidated government area; or
(3) If a petition, signed by ten percent of the qualified voters in the consolidated local government, is filed with the governing body of the consolidated local government proposing an amendment to the charter, the governing body shall submit the proposed amendment to the voters at a general election or at a special election and, in such event, the amendment becomes effective upon approval of a majority of those voting within the consolidated local government.
(b) If an election is held, then the governing body shall submit the question of amending the charter to the electorate in substantially the following form:
Should the amendment described below be adopted for the charter of (name of consolidated local government)?
[ ]Yes
[ ]No
The ballot shall contain a summary of the proposed amendment.
This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature ***