H. B. 2799
(By Delegate Andes)
[Introduced March 4, 2013; referred to the
Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to repeal §7-7-3, §7-7-4 and §7-7-4a of the Code of West
Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §7-7-1,
§7-7-6a and §7-7-6b of said code, all relating to the
classification of counties for purpose of determining
compensation of elected county officials; compensation of
elected county officials and county commissioners for each
class of county; legislative findings; authorizing the option
of full-time status for part-time prosecuting attorneys;
assessors and their additional compensation for additional
duties; and, additional compensation of assessors according to
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §7-7-3, §7-7-4, §7-7-4a of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended, be repealed; and that §7-7-1, §7-7-6a and §7-7-6b
of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 7. COMPENSATION OF ELECTED COUNTY OFFICIALS.
§7-7-1. Legislative findings and purpose.
(a) The Legislature finds that it has, since January 1, 2003,
consistently and annually imposed upon the county commissioners,
sheriffs, county and circuit clerks, assessors and prosecuting
attorneys in each county board, new and additional duties by the
enactment of new provisions and amendments to this code.
and additional duties imposed upon the aforesaid county officials
by these enactments are such that they would justify the increases
in compensation as provided in section four of this article,
without violating the provisions of section thirty-eight, article
VI of the Constitution of West Virginia.
(b) The Legislature further finds that there are, from time to
time, additional duties imposed upon all county officials through
the acts of the Congress of the United States and that such acts
constitute new and additional duties for county officials.
such, justify the increases in compensation as provided by section
four of this article, without violating the provisions of section
thirty-eight, article VI of the Constitution of West Virginia
(c) The Legislature further finds that there is a direct
correlation between the total assessed property valuations of a
county on which the salary levels of the county commissioners,
sheriffs, county and circuit clerks, assessors and prosecuting
attorneys are based, and the new and additional duties that each of these officials is required to perform as they serve the best
interests of their respective counties.
Inasmuch as the
reappraisal of the property valuations in each county has now been
accomplished, the Legislature finds that a change in classification
of counties by virtue of increased property valuations will occur
on an infrequent basis. However, it is the further finding of the
Legislature that when such change in classification of counties
does occur, that new and additional programs, economic
developments, requirements of public safety and the need for new
services provided by county officials all increase, that the same
constitute new and additional duties for county officials as their
respective counties reach greater heights of economic development,
as exemplified by the substantial increases in property valuations
and, as such, justify the increases in compensation provided in
section four of this article, without violating the provisions of
section thirty-eight, article VI of the Constitution of West
Virginia. The Legislature therefore finds that it is best for each
county commission, having local knowledge and awareness of the
conditions prevailing in that county which is not immediately
apparent to the Legislature, to undertake for itself to set the
salaries of its officials in the manner it best sees fitting and
(d) The Legislature further finds and declares that the
amendments enacted to this article are intended to modify the provisions of this article so as to cause the same to be in full
compliance with the provisions of the Constitution of West Virginia
and to be in full compliance with the decisions of the Supreme
Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
(e) Each county commission shall set the salaries for county
officials within that jurisdiction: Provided, That the
determination of salaries shall be for a period of no longer than
four years and must be in full accordance with the provisions of
Section thirty-eight, Article VI of the Constitution of West
§7-7-6a. Assessors; additional compensation; additional duties.
In addition to the salary or compensation provided elsewhere
in this article, the county commission of each county shall pay to
the assessor, on an annual basis, on and after July 1, 1977,
additional compensation in accordance with the provisions of this
and section six-b of this article for such additional
duties required of him the assessor by this section.
To receive such additional compensation, the following duties
are hereby imposed upon every assessor of this state:
(1) He or she shall annually complete a sales ratio analysis
in a manner prescribed by the State Tax Commissioner.
(2) He or she shall present to the Tax Commissioner a list of
real property transfers of the prior assessment year by December 1
(3) He or she shall on or before December 1 of each year
supply a list of new construction and improvements exceeding $1,000
of the previous assessment year on forms prescribed by the State
(4) He or she shall on or before December 1 of each year
supply a list of new businesses added to the assessment rolls and
businesses that have discontinued operations in the previous
assessment year and been removed from the assessment rolls.
(5) He or she shall provide assistance to the Tax Commissioner
to disseminate information with respect to the taxation,
classification and valuation of nonutility and public utility
property to the end that all property shall be more equally and
uniformly assessed throughout the state.
(6) He or she shall annually assist the Tax Commissioner in
determining the current use of such real property in his or her
county as the Tax Commissioner may require to accomplish a uniform
appraisal and assessment of real property.
The duties hereinbefore listed must be substantially completed
by the assessor no later than November 1 of each year, and each
assessor shall certify to the Tax Commissioner that he or she has
substantially completed such duties in accordance with requirements
of the Tax Commissioner. If at this time there has been
substantial completion of the above duties to the satisfaction of
the Tax Commissioner, the Tax Commissioner shall, but no later than November 15 of each year, certify to the county commission that the
assessor has substantially performed these duties, and is entitled
to the remuneration provided
for in section six-b of this article.
§7-7-6b. Additional compensation of assessors according to county
For the purpose of determining the additional compensation to
be paid to the county assessor of each county for the additional
duties provided by section six-a of this article, the following
compensations for each county assessor by class, as provided in
section three of this article, are hereby established and shall be
used by each county commission in determining the compensation of
each county assessor; for assessors in Class I - V counties,
inclusive, $15,000; for assessors in Class VI and VII counties,
$10,000; for assessors in Class VIII and IX counties, $9,000; for
assessors in Class X counties, $6,500.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other
section of the code to the contrary, the additional compensation
paid to the county assessors for performance of additional duties
as provided in section six-a of this article may not be less than
the additional compensation the county assessors received on
January 1, 1976.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow county commissions broad discretion in setting the salaries of county elected
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would