Home Rule

History:  According to online sources, forty of the fifty U.S. States apply some form (constitutional or statutorial) of principal to allow municipalities to govern themselves as they see fit.  In 2007, the West Virginia Legislature approved the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program and the Municipal Home Rule Board to oversee the program. Since that time the program has expanded to include thirty-four municipalities around the State, but is currently closed to any new applicants. The West Virginia Legislature will in 2018, for a second time, consider a bill making the Home Rule Program permanent and open for all municipalities to apply. The City of Elkins was granted acceptance into the program on November 16, 2015. Once approved as a “Home Rule City”, a municipality may petition the Board for amendments to their plan an unlimited number of times.

Purpose: The program grants individual authority to municipalities to implement ordinances, acts, resolutions, rules and regulations not specifically permitted, or in some instances in conflict with, West Virginia Law. There are limits however – any Home Rule authority must still comply with the U.S. Constitution, the West Virginia Constitution, federal law, and chapters sixty-a (“Uniform Controlled Substance Act”), sixty-one (“Crimes and Their Punishment”), and sixty-two (“Criminal Procedures”) of the West Virginia Code. Home Rule cities around the State have requested and received Board approval to address a variety of local issues such as stagnant revenues; dilapidated properties; difficulties in recruiting civil service board members and applicants; and barriers to efficiencies in working with other governments.

Local Application:  The City of Elkins original Municipal Home Rule Pilot Project Application presented in 2015 included eleven requests for separate authorities, ten of which were granted by the Board. In 2017, the City presented an Amendment to the Approved Written Plan, asking for an additional nine authorities. The City withdrew two of the requests based on deliberations occuring in the State Legislature at the time, but the remaining seven were approved by the Board. Below is an overview of the City’s current Home Rule authorities and the ordinances that have been adopted to date. The “n/a” under ordinance number and adoption date simply indicates that Council has not taken action yet. Each of these authorities is currently, or will be in the future, under consideration by Council.

DescriptionAuthority GrantedOrdinance NumberOrdinance Adopted
"On the Spot" CitationsNov. 2015216Jul. 2016
Registration and Maintenance of Foreclosed PropertiesNov. 2015213Jul. 2016
Public Nuisance LiensNov. 2015n/an/a
Satisfaction of Demolition LiensNov. 2015n/an/a
Transfer or Lease of City Property to Private and Non-profit entitiesNov. 2015230Mar. 2017
Part-time Police OfficersNov. 2015207Apr. 2016
Raising Maximum Age for Joining Civil Service Police DepartmentsNov. 2015205Jan. 2016
Party Membership Requirements for Election Boards and Civil Service CommissionsNov. 2015231, 232, 233, 234Mar. 2017
Business License and Categories FeesNov. 2015212Jun. 2016
Distance between WVABCA License Holders and ChurchesNov. 2015n/an/a
"Brunch Bill"Jul. 2017245Sep. 2017
Allocation of Funds for City Marketing and TourismJul. 2017n/an/a
Intergovernmental AgreementsJul. 2017250Feb. 2018
Municipal Court and Technology FeeJul. 2017244Sep. 2017
Community Enhancement DistrictsJul. 2017n/an/a
Reducing the Number of Eligibles from Certified List of Police Civil Service CommissionJul. 2017251Feb. 2018
Municipal Sales TaxJul. 2017248Dec. 2017

For further inquiries about Home Rule, please contact the City Clerk at jsutton@cityofelkinswv.com or 304-636-1414 ext. 1211.