Fairmont City Council discusses amending its Home Rule plan

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont City Council met Tuesday, virtually, to hold the second reading of an ordinance proposing that the city submit an amendment to the West Virginia Home Rule Board.

The city is seeking approval for an amendment to the original Home Rule Plan specifically to include a Business and Occupation Tax Credit for residential development, to attract developers to Fairmont to strengthen the quality of available housing.

According to the City of Fairmont’s website, the Municipal Home Rule originated in the United States in the early 20th Century. It enables voters to adopt a home rule charter that acts as the city’s basic governing document over local issues; however, state law continues to prevail over statewide concerns.

The goal of a municipal home rule is to facilitate local control and minimize state intervention into municipal affairs. A municipal home rule allows the local citizen to have a bigger voice in regards to their local issues.

The City Council hopes that the amendments will give the City of Fairmont the ability to attract new residents to the area, re-purpose existing vacant structures, and beautify the city.

This is the City of Fairmont’s first amendment since being approved as a Home Rule City. The city’s Home Rule Plan has not been amended since 2014.

“We have an opportunity for a developer to come in and build a lot of houses. And we want to make it more friendly with not only this developer, but developers in the future to be able to come to Fairmont and do these planned projects,” said Tom Mainella, Mayor of the City of Fairmont.

Mayor Mainella also said at this time; he cannot say where the new development could take place but that the development would be within the city limits.

The proposed amendment will allow the city manager to submit new amendments to the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule Board for their approval. Also, city officials said that the proposed amendment would expand the city’s business and occupation tax credits to encourage the development of owner-occupied dwellings within city limits.

Officials stated that allowing the city manager to make future amendments to the Home Rule Plan will allow the city the ability to take action to increase the city’s population, provide new modern housing incentives, and diversify the city’s economy.

The public hearing and final vote on the ordinance will be at council’s February 23 meeting.

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