Charleston West Virginia Economic Development

Discussions on Economic and Community Development in West Virginia and the Charleston MSA as well as issues of the Charleston Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The story below appears in today's Charleston Gazette.

Metro vote could come within two years

By Kellen Henry
Staff writer

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- With business community support and legal changes, Kanawha County residents could vote on metro government in less than two years, county commissioners said Thursday.

Commissioners said they do not want taxpayers paying more than $200,000 for a special election on metro government, but they would consider putting the issue on the ballot for special election or an election financed with private funds.

At Thursday's meeting, commissioners decided to file a letter of intent with the county clerk for a 2010 deadline after county, city and business officials spent two days observing a similar arrangement in Louisville, Ky., last week.

"There's got to be support from the business community," Commission President Kent Carper said Thursday.

Members of the Charleston Area Alliance joined government leaders in Louisville and will attend the next commission meeting to discuss what business can contribute to the push for metro government.

Commissioners also want to change the majority required to authorize implementing metro government in Kanawha County. Under a state law passed in 2005, 55 percent of both the largest city and the rest of the county must approve a switch to metro government.

"It took three tries to pass in Louisville and it only passed with 54 percent and that was with a $1.2 million campaign," Commissioner David Hardy said. "I think the issue of the 55 versus 50 percent threshold is the issue that has to be addressed."


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