The WV Municipal League is the official membership organization of local governments dedicated to advancing the public interest, building democracy and community, and improving the quality of life by strengthening the capacity of local governance and advocating the interests of local communities.

Local government officials, as custodians of democratic values, work together through the WV Municipal League to safeguard the authorities and improve the capacities of local governments to respond to the needs and aspirations of the people.

While we who administer and legislate at the local level recognize that local government is a creature of the State government, we also believe that the level of government that functions closest to its citizens is the one best able to govern most effectively.  Moreover, we believe that the majority of the citizens of this State share this view.  We ask that the legislature and the administration join with the WV Municipal League to strengthen and streamline the administrative, fiscal and policy relationship between the two levels of government.

Local government officials act together through the WV Municipal League to express and advocate their common interests and views as responsible partners in the democratic system of governance.

In carrying out this mission the WV Virginia Municipal League serves as an advocate for its members in WV in the legislative, administrative, and judicial processes that affect them; develops and pursues a state municipal policy that meets the present and future needs of our State’s municipalities and the people who live in them; and provides information, education, and technical assistance to local officials to help them improve the quality of life and delivery of services in their cities, towns, and villages.

The League is a voluntary, nonpartisan organization operating through an executive director with offices in Charleston, West Virginia.

POLICY STATEMENT

The central purpose of the WV Municipal League is to advance the interests and welfare of the people residing in the cities, towns and villages of our State.  The basic goals of the League are to provide information and assistance to municipal officials and to represent municipalities collectively in matters before the state and federal government.  The objectives to our members are:

(1) To provide means whereby municipal officials and others interested in municipal government may interchange ideas and experiences;
(2) To provide for the collection and dissemination of information relating to municipal affairs; in response to requests by members and, when possible, by other government officials and individuals.

(3) To secure enactment of beneficial legislation for municipalities; aggressively protect local control and support legislation that strengthens the autonomy of WV municipalities; and to prevent the passage of such measures as may be detrimental to their interests;

(4) To promote education in municipal governments;

(5) To do any and all other things necessary and proper for the benefit of municipalities.

(6) To represent the interests of our collective membership and to serve local governments by providing cost-effective programs and services.

The policy statement of the League is approved at the annual meeting and provides direction for the legislative program of the League.  Any issue presented to the League must be supported by resolution from the member governing body.

Once a position or goal has been adopted, the League should be regarded as the formal voice for the WV municipalities in such matters; however, the League will find it necessary to have assistance from municipal officials in these activities.  The League will not intervene or act upon matters of local dispute between officials or member cities, unless authorized by the Board of Directors.

ROLE OF CITIES
- SECTION I

Local government is the level of government that deals with the basic physical and social services desired by individuals residing in their communities.  Cities must be provided with the resources and authority to carry out this vital role.  Citizens of local governments should have a major voice in determining the nature, scope and funding of various service programs offered at the local level.

SELF GOVERNMENT - SECTION II

It is the right of the people in a democratic society to govern themselves, to create agencies and charge such agencies with the duties and responsibilities, and to grant to them such powers as the people may deem appropriate to serve their needs.  Local government empowerment is a grant of power, not to the governments, but to the people residing in the municipalities.

The Legislature should allow all municipal voters the right to use any local assessment they deem necessary to provide for the local government operation, the services they provide, and how they provide for the community’s future.  State laws, rules and regulations should be adopted to allow these local governments to modernize their procedures to best serve their public.  

It is the purpose of this organization to provide the citizens the power to structure their local governments as fits their individual needs and desires.  Such changes will allow these governments to perform the services the citizens deem appropriate and desirable.

PUBLIC FINANCE - SECTION III

The League believes that public finance problems are shared by all.  The State and its political subdivisions should not be in conflict or competition with one another for tax resources; nor should the state or federal government be the sole taxing units in our system of government, thus prohibiting proper local taxation.

(1) Tax legislation must address itself to the revenue and service needs of municipal governments, to enhance and preserve the financial integrity of our municipalities, and also to provide for future increases in revenues.

(2) The state should greatly expand the sharing of resources with local government in a manner commensurate with the responsibilities of these municipalities for providing basic services to their citizens until such a time as the state realizes the true nature of local government operations and provides these governments with their rightful autonomy.

(3) The state should provide local government the right to impose local taxes for the support of local services of a type, and at a level reflective of the desires of their citizens.  These powers should be granted by removing restrictions in the WV laws, rules and regulations that prevent municipalities from using types and levels of taxation that are suitable for local economy.

(4) The municipalities must not be required to continue dependence upon a regressive tax system imposed upon them at the state level.  It is vital that municipalities are given authority by legislative action to enact local progressive tax systems for the benefit of its citizens.  The local government deserves the right to rely upon the same revenue sources as the state government, remembering local officials are nearest to the citizens and reflect their concerns and needs on a daily basis.

(5) Proposed legislation affecting municipal income or expenditures must carry financial impact statements to enable the Legislature, public officials and other citizens to evaluate such proposed legislation.

(6) Municipalities should receive an equitable share of all revenues collected by the State legislature within their respective municipal jurisdictions as provided by law.  The State should provide monetary and other incentives to encourage local governments to provide services on a regional basis.

PLANNING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT - SECTION IV

The increasing complexity of urban issues and the imposition of greater roles by the state and federal government in the solution of such issues have increased the need to plan the use of limited resources, establish systems to coordinate planning among governmental units, and relate specific planning activity to the overall needs of our communities.  Therefore, the League supports annexation laws to facilitate annexation to be used as a tool for planning, economic development, and urban growth.  In addition, there is a need for study of the issue of appropriate municipal control over unincorporated areas that use the services of the municipal government.

General Law should also be modified to facilitate annexation or consolidation of services on a regional basis where the local citizens desire such changes.  The League supports such consolidation as well as annexation laws that sustain and improve the quality of life in our cities.

Individual annexations are unique to the locality and the League believes that the localities should maintain control of land use decisions and that neither the state nor federal government should usurp a municipality’s power to make such decisions.

Municipal Officials of municipalities participate together in the WV Municipal League in order to promote the welfare and success of all of West Virginia.  While each city has different attributes and needs, and often different perspectives on important issues, the following core principals are agreed upon:
Municipalities are dedicated to delivering the best possible local government services and supporting critical infrastructure in order to provide a high quality of life for our residents, visitors and businesses.

The central urban cores of our cities must be protected, nurtured and concentrated in order to deliver and sustain rich and diversified public life for all of our citizens, whether living in rural, suburban or urban parts of our State.
Healthy and attractive central business districts and neighborhoods instill in our citizens and visitors a sense of place, as well as a desire to remain or return to live, work and patronize local businesses.

Population density provides immense advantage and opportunity for all businesses.  However, concentrated population also creates cost demands upon local government to deliver and maintain supporting services and a high quality of life for residents and visitors.

Businesses that fairly value and wish to protect and preserve our urban cores and their business opportunities agree to voluntary annexation.  The businesses are to be commended.

Businesses that sit on the fringe outside of the city’s border enjoy the benefits of population density of an urban area, as well as the city’s name and services.  These businesses unfairly shift the costs of these benefits to city residents.  Fringe businesses that refuse to share in underwriting these expenses are taking advantage of our population density without paying a fair share of the cost of this density.  This violates any fair concept of political and public morality.

Our open spaces, farms and forests must be safeguarded against urban sprawl.  Allowing development to locate immediately outside municipal boundaries to cynically take advantage of population density while escaping the cost of that density will promote urban sprawl, place additional demands on our infrastructure, and deteriorate the unique urban-rural attributes of our beautiful State.

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS - SECTION V

The fair and equitable treatment of public employees is vital to the continuation of strong and effective local governments.  Providing services within financial constraints requires increasing productivity of public employees, continued building and improving of public management practices, and sound personnel procedures and administrative mechanisms.

The League supports the concepts of equal employment opportunity without discrimination in the recruitment, selection, promotion, retention and retirement of public employees.

HOUSING - SECTION VI

One of the greatest needs in all segments of our state is the provision of safe, decent housing for all citizens.  We support equal housing opportunities and urge increased activity and funding for private and public housing to meet this need.  We support programs that would specifically assist in these projects, and urge greater local control and individual responsibility.  For the benefit of all levels of government, the State should provide assistance to municipalities dealing with blighted areas of their communities, including funding and enforceable laws regulating unsightly/hazardous buildings.

ENVIRONMENT - SECTION VII

Municipalities and their residents depend upon a healthy and productive environment for their long-term well being.  The League is committed to the protection and enhancement of this resource base and to a clean and safe environment.  The League commitment recognizes; however, the need to achieve and maintain a balance for sustaining environmental resources, economic growth and social development in our cities, towns, and villages.

Identifying and protecting resources, as well as managing the human impacts upon them, should be the quest of all levels of government and the priority of the citizenry.

The federal and state legislative bodies and administrative agencies concerned with environmental programs should establish goals with reasonable time frames and standards that are both realistic and cost-effective.

The state and federal governments must provide a means to enable municipalities to carry out mandated required water and wastewater programs.  This should be accomplished with minimum bureaucratic procedures.

Responsibility for establishing rates for user charges in utility services owned by municipalities must be given to those local governments rather than the Public Service Commission.

ROADS AND TRANSPORTATION - SECTION VIII

Revenues collected from highway user sources are needed if municipalities are to meet their responsibilities for construction and maintenance of their local street systems.  These funds shall be designated for this type of expenditure only.

The state should, considering the needs of its constituents, provide financial assistance for the operation of mass transit systems.

ENERGY - SECTION IX

A crucial problem facing our national, state, and local governments is the decreasing availability and increasing cost of fuel and energy.  The consequences of not resolving this difficult problem are of such magnitude that all segments of our society must be encouraged to conserve existing supplies and a high priority must be placed upon the development of additional safe and renewable sources of energy.

MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY - SECTION X

State imposed restrictions on the ability of municipalities to carry out the functions of municipal government in the most economic and business like manner must not interfere with the responsibilities of local official to provide full value for every tax dollar.  Efforts to update the statutes and rules pertaining to charter and non-charter municipalities should be pursued for both ease of understanding and fiscal integrity.

The League will support measures revising and modernizing the procedures and structures of municipal government in any respect to remove all unnecessary state restrictions on municipal operations.

State or Federal intervention in local affairs is only warranted in matters of greater than local significance.  Changes should not be made in the laws affecting local government without substantial local input from affected jurisdictions and the League, and include their full participation in developing these changes.


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West Virginia Municipal League - 2020 Kanawha Blvd, Charleston, WV, 25311 | 304-342-5564 | website by brickswithoutstraw

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