7/7/2014 5:56 PM
by Mike Bundt
BECKLEY- Four municipalities in Southern West Virginia made their presentations Monday in an attempt to become a part of the Home Rule Program. The program first included Huntington and Charleston before adding Bridgeport and Wheeling. It allows cities to run themselves more freely.
"It gives the cities an opportunity to manage itself a little bit without having to follow the guidelines of the legislation," said Home Rule Board chairman Patsy Trecost.
The basis of the program is that cities know what their issues are more than non-local politicians.
"Legislation understands that a legislator in another part of the state may not know exactly what's going on in Lewisburg. Lewisburg knows what its needs are. Charleston know what its needs are and so on and so forth," said Trecost.
After the first set of five meetings state wide, officials from Lewisburg and Oak Hill say they are optimistic about their chances of getting selected.
"I think I made some good ideas. We'll see how it plays out in comparison to the others. I think everyone of the 23 who goes through it is hopeful that their presentation was good enough to make the grade," said Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester.
"I'm optimistic and I hope we do. I believe we can better serve the public if we're selected. 16 communities will be selected and there's 23 applications and I hope we're one of those 16," said Oak Hill City Manager Bill Hannabass.
The next round of presentations will take place August 4th in Charleston when six more municipalities speak in front of the Home Rule Board.