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

Introduced Version House Bill 2749 History

DOWNLOAD  wpd  |  Email


H. B. 2749

 

         (By Delegates Fragale and Iaquinta)

         [Introduced January 21, 2011; referred to the

         Committee on Political Subdivisions then the Judiciary.]

 

 

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §8-2-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §8-3-1, §8-3-2, §8-3-3, §8-3-4, §8-3-6 and §8-3-7, all relating to allowing a Class IV Town be allowed to create their own charter.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §8-2-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that §8-3-1, §8-3-2, §8-3-3, §8-3-4, §8-3-6 and §8-3-7 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

ARTICLE 2. CREATION OF MUNICIPALITIES.

§8-2-7. Court order declaring boundaries of city; certificate of incorporation of town or village; dismissal of proceeding.

    If the proceeding be for the incorporation of a city, and it appears to the county court commission, upon the returns being canvassed, that a majority of the legal votes cast on the question of incorporation were in favor of such incorporation and the court is satisfied that all of the applicable provisions of this article have been complied with, the court shall by order duly made and entered of record declare that the territory in question (reciting the boundaries) shall thereby become a body corporate, and shall thenceforth be known as the city of ......................, but that until a charter shall be framed and adopted as provided in article three of this chapter, such city shall have and exercise no powers of a municipality except the power to frame and adopt a charter as therein provided.

    If the proceeding be for the incorporation of a town or village, and it appears to the county court commission, upon the returns being canvassed, that a majority of the legal votes cast on the question of incorporation were in favor of such incorporation and the court is satisfied that all of the applicable provisions of this article have been complied with, the court shall by order duly made and entered of record declare that the territory in question (reciting the boundaries) shall thereby become a body corporate, and shall thenceforth be known as the town or village of ......................, but that until a charter shall be framed and adopted as provided in article three of this chapter, such city shall have and exercise no powers of a municipality except the power to frame and adopt a charter as therein provided. by order duly made and entered of record, direct the clerk of said court to issue a certificate of incorporation in form or in substance as follows:

    "It appearing to the court that under the provisions of article two, chapter eight of the Code of West Virginia, as amended, at an election duly held on the ............ day of .............., 19......., a majority of the legal votes cast on the question of incorporation by the qualified voters of the following territory, to wit: Beginning, etc. (here recite the boundaries), were cast in favor of the incorporation of the town or village of ............................, in the County of .................., bounded as herein set forth; and it appearing to the satisfaction of the court that all of the provisions of article two, chapter eight of the Code of West Virginia, as amended, have been complied with by the petitioners for said incorporation, said town or village is hereby declared to be a body corporate, duly authorized to exercise all of the corporate powers conferred upon towns or villages by chapter eight of the Code of West Virginia, as amended, from and after the date of this certificate. (Signed) ............................, Clerk County Court." Thereupon, the first election of officers shall be held as provided in sections two, three and four, article five of this chapter.

    If on the returns being canvassed on the question of incorporation, a majority of the legal votes cast be against incorporation, the proceeding shall be dismissed, and no subsequent proceeding for incorporation of the same territory or any portion thereof shall be considered or election thereon had within a period of three years thereafter.

ARTICLE 3. FRAMING AND ADOPTING AN ORIGINAL CHARTER FOLLOWING               INCORPORATION OF A CITY; REVISING OR AMENDING A               CHARTER; EXPENSES OF INCORPORATION.

§8-3-1. Charter board for cities -- Number of members; qualifications of members; nominations; ballots and ballot labels; dismissal of proceeding.

    At every election on the question of incorporation of a city, under article two of this chapter, each qualified voter entitled to vote shall also be entitled to vote for a charter board consisting of eleven members if it is to be a Class I or Class II city, and of seven members if it is to be a Class III city and of five members if it is to be a Class IV town. Members shall be elected at large and shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed by the city for all reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in the discharge of their duties. Any individual who has been a resident of the territory sought to be incorporated for at least two years prior to the date of said election and who shall have been qualified to vote in state-county elections for at least two years prior to the date of said election shall be eligible for membership on said charter board. Nominations for said charter board shall be made by petition to the county court commission bearing the signatures, written in their own handwriting, of not less than two hundred qualified voters of the territory. All nominating petitions shall be filed with the county court commission at least twenty days prior to the date of the election on the question of incorporation. In the event of a vacancy in the nominations which shall reduce the number of candidates below the number of members to be elected, the vacancy shall be filled by the county court commission. The ballots, or ballot labels where voting machines are used, shall be prepared by or at the direction of the clerk of the county court commission. The ballots or ballot labels for members of the charter board shall be separate from the ballots or ballot labels on the question of incorporation. Such ballots or ballot labels for members of the charter board shall be special ballots or ballot labels without party designation. The position of the names of the candidates upon the ballots or voting machines shall be interchanged, as provided in the general election laws of this state. The ballots or voting machine directions shall bear instructions specifying the number of candidates to be voted for, and each qualified voter entitled to vote on the question of framing a charter may cast as many votes for members of the charter board as there are members to be elected. He The voter may cumulate all of his or her votes for one candidate, or distribute them among several candidates as he the voter sees fit. The ballots or voting machine directions shall bear advice to this effect. Any voter who shall vote against incorporation may, nevertheless, vote for members of the charter board, and the ballots or voting machine directions shall bear advice to this effect.

    If on the returns being canvassed on the question of incorporation, such canvassing to be done by the county court commission, a majority of the legal votes cast be against incorporation, the proceeding shall be dismissed as specified in section seven, article two of this chapter, and no subsequent proceeding for incorporation of the same territory or any portion thereof shall be considered or election thereon had within a period of three years thereafter.

§8-3-2. Charter board for cities -- Organization; journal; quorum; duties; time for draft of charter; form of city government.

    If on the returns being canvassed on the question of incorporation of a city, such canvassing to be done by the county commission, a majority of the legal votes cast be in favor of such incorporation, then the legal votes cast for members of the charter board shall be counted and canvassed by the county commission, and the candidates in the number to be chosen who received the highest number of votes shall be declared elected. The charter board shall be convened at a suitable place within the territory, by the member receiving the highest number of votes, not less than five days nor more than ten days after the canvass of the returns. He or she shall notify the other members of the board in writing of the time and place of the first meeting of the charter board. At such first meeting, the board shall perfect its organization by electing a chairman and secretary from its membership and by determining the rules to govern its proceedings. Any vacancy in the membership of the board occurring before a charter is approved by the qualified voters of the incorporated territory shall be filled by appointment by majority action of the remaining members, and any vacancy occurring after approval of a charter as aforesaid shall be filled as specified in section nine of this article. A journal shall be kept by the secretary, in which journal shall be entered, upon demand by any member, the vote by ayes and nays on any question. A majority of the members of said board shall constitute a quorum. The board shall specify the manner for nominating and electing candidates for the first elective offices provided for in the proposed charter at the election to be held on the question of approval of the charter. It shall fix the date of said election and it shall do and provide all other things necessary for making nominations and holding and conducting such election. Any qualified voter and any freeholder of the incorporated territory may file with said charter board any written material bearing upon the purposes of the board, and the board shall give such material so filed such consideration as it may deem proper. The charter drafting process may be carried on through committees, but their work shall be advisory only. The charter board shall complete its draft of a charter within ninety days after its first meeting. It shall be the duty of the charter board to provide in the charter so drafted for a form of city government in accordance with one of the following plans:

    Plan I -- "Mayor-Council Plan." Under this plan:

    (1) There shall be a city council, elected at large or by wards, or both at large and by wards, by the qualified voters of the city; a mayor elected by the qualified voters of the city; and such other elective officers as the charter may prescribe; and

    (2) The mayor and council shall be the governing body and administrative authority.

    Plan II -- "Strong-Mayor Plan." Under this plan:

    (1) There shall be a mayor elected by the qualified voters of the city; and a city council elected at large or by wards, or both at large and by wards, by the qualified voters of the city;

    (2) The council shall be the governing body;

    (3) The mayor shall be the administrative authority; and

    (4) Other officers and employees shall be appointed by the mayor or by his or her order in accordance with this chapter, but such appointments by the mayor or by his or her order may be made subject to the approval of the council.

    Plan III -- "Commission Government." Under this plan:

    (1) There shall be, except as hereinafter in this plan provided, a commission of five members elected at large by the qualified voters of the city;

    (2) The members of the commission shall be a Commissioner of Public Affairs, a Commissioner of Finance, a Commissioner of Public Safety, a Commissioner of Public Works and a Commissioner of Streets: Provided, That a charter for a Class I or Class II city may, and a charter for a Class III city or Class IV town shall, provide for a commission of three members, viz., a Commissioner of Finance, a Commissioner of Public Works and a Commissioner of Public Safety;

    (3) The members of the commission shall elect a mayor from among their membership;

    (4) The commission shall be the governing body and administrative authority; and

    (5) Officers and employees, other than members of the commission, shall be appointed in accordance with this chapter by the commissioners or by each commissioner with respect to his or her department, as the charter may prescribe.

    Plan IV -- "Manager Plan." Under this plan:

    (1) There shall be a council of not less than five nor more than eleven members, elected either at large or from such geographical districts as may be established by the charter, or partly at large and partly from such geographical districts, and the charter may empower the council to change, from time to time, such districts without amending the charter: Provided, That the change of such districts shall not take effect during the terms of office of the members of such council making such change;

    (2) There shall be a mayor elected by the council from among its membership who shall serve as the presiding officer of the council; and a city manager who shall be appointed by the council;

    (3) The council shall be the governing body; and

    (4) The manager shall be the administrative authority. He or she shall manage the affairs of the city under the supervision of the council and he the manager shall be responsible to such council. He The manager shall appoint or employ, in accordance with this chapter, all subordinates and employees for whose duties or work he the manager is responsible to the council.

    Plan V -- "Manager-Mayor Plan." Under this Plan:

    (1) There shall be a council of not less than five nor more than eleven members, elected either at large or from such geographical districts as may be established by the charter, or partly at large and partly from such geographical districts, and the charter may empower the council to change, from time to time, such districts without amending the charter: Provided, That the change of such districts shall not take effect during the terms of office of the members of such council making such change.

    (2) There shall be a mayor elected at large by the qualified voters of the municipality as may be established by the charter, who shall serve as a member and the presiding officer of the council; and a city manager who shall be appointed by the council;

    (3) The council shall be the governing body; and

    (4) The manager shall be the administrative authority. He or she shall manage the affairs of the city under the supervision of the council and he the manager shall be responsible to such council. He The manager shall appoint or employ, in accordance with this chapter, all subordinates and employees for whose duties or work he the manager is responsible to the council.

    The purpose of the provisions of this section pertaining to Plan I, Plan II, Plan III, Plan IV and Plan V is to establish basic requirements of alternative plans of structure and organization of city government. The structure and organization of a city government may be specified by the charter in respects other than those enumerated, and in elaboration of the basic requirements, insofar as such charter provisions do not conflict with the purpose and the provisions of the alternative plans prescribed.

§8-3-3. City charters -- Approval and certification by Attorney            General.

    The draft of said charter shall, upon completion, be certified by the secretary of said charter board to the Attorney General of the state. It shall be his the Attorney General’s duty to examine the draft and advise whether it is consistent in all respects with the Constitution and general law of this state. The Attorney General, if satisfied that the proposed charter is consistent in all respects with the Constitution and general law of this state, shall so certify to the charter board within thirty days after receipt of such draft. If the Attorney General is not satisfied that the proposed charter is consistent in all respects with the Constitution and general law of this state, he the Attorney General shall certify, within thirty days after receipt of such draft, to the charter board in what respects the same does not conform to the Constitution or general law of this state.

§8-3-4. Same -- Hearing and notice.

    When it shall have completed its draft of a charter, the charter board shall conduct a public hearing thereon. The county court commission shall cause notice of the date, time, place and purpose of the hearing to be given by publication thereof at least ten days prior to the date set for the hearing as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the incorporated territory. The notice shall state where copies of the draft of the charter may be obtained. The hearing may be continued by the charter board by adjournments over a period not exceeding fourteen days.

§8-3-6. Same -- Special election; time for election; notice;             voting precincts; supplies; officials; certification;             canvass; declaration of results; recount.

    The proposed charter shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the incorporated territory for approval or rejection at a special election ordered by the county court commission to be held not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days following the date on which the two copies of the completed charter were filed with the clerk of the county court commission, at which election the officers provided for by said proposed charter and to be elected shall be voted upon in the manner provided in said proposed charter. The county court commission shall cause notice of the date, hours, place and purpose of such election to be given by publication thereof as a Class II-0 legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the incorporated territory. The first of said publications shall be made not less than thirty days prior to the date fixed for the election. Each such notice of election shall state that upon request any qualified voter and any freeholder of the incorporated territory may obtain a copy of the proposed charter from a designated person at a designated place.

    For the purpose of holding and conducting said election, the county court commission shall divide the incorporated territory into one or more precincts, consisting of not more than five hundred qualified voters in each precinct; shall arrange for and provide at its expense polling places, registration books, challenges and other election supplies as provided for by law in general elections; and shall appoint three commissioners of election and two clerks from the qualified voters of said incorporated territory for each precinct so established, subject, however, to the provisions of section eleven, article four of this chapter. Such election shall be held and conducted under the supervision of the commissioners and clerks of election appointed by the county court commission as aforesaid and shall be conducted as nearly as may be in accordance with the laws of this state governing general elections. The results of such election, both as to approval or rejection of the proposed charter and the election of officers, shall be certified as in general elections, and the returns shall be canvassed and the results declared by the county court commission. In the event any commissioner or clerk designated to serve in said election shall fail or refuse to serve, such vacancy may be filled in like manner as such vacancies are filled in general elections under the laws of this state governing general elections. A recount may be had, as in general elections, upon the party or parties desiring such recount providing adequate assurance to the county court commission that he or they the party or parties will pay all costs of such recount.

§8-3-7. Same -- Approval; effective date; certification; judicial            notice; recordation.

    If the proposed charter shall be approved by a majority of the legal votes cast at the election thereon, the charter shall take effect on July 1, next after the date of the election, if the interim exceeds sixty days; otherwise on July 1 of the second fiscal year after its approval. If approved as aforesaid, one of the signed copies of the charter on file with the clerk of the county court commission, together with a certified copy of the declaration of the results of the election showing the total legal votes cast for and against approval, shall be certified forthwith by the clerk of the county court commission to the Clerk of the House of Delegates, in his or her capacity as keeper of the rolls. The same shall be preserved by said Clerk of the House of Delegates as an authentic public record. After the effective date of a charter so filed, all courts shall take judicial notice of its provisions.

    The clerk of the county court commission shall certify to the county court the other signed copy of the charter previously filed with him or her, which copy so certified shall be spread upon the records of said court for public examination.

 

 

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow Class IV towns to create their own charter and operate in a similar manner to Class I, II and III cities.

 

    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

This Web site is maintained by the West Virginia Legislature's Office of Reference & Information.  |  Terms of Use  |   Web Administrator   |   © 2014 West Virginia Legislature **