KEYSER - Keyser city officials are moving forward with an application for home rule, in hopes that the program will allow them more flexibility in things like taking care of unkempt properties and eliminating the B&O tax.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - Keyser city officials are moving forward with an application for home rule, in hopes that the program will allow them more flexibility in things like taking care of unkempt properties and eliminating the B&O tax.
Home rule is a pilot program which was made permanent by the West Virginia State Legislature this year. It affords the opportunity for municipalities to pass more ordinances, rules, resolutions and regulations than was previously allowed by West Virginia State Code.
City administrator Buck Eagle said if Keyser is accepted into the program, the officials plan to focus on two areas.
“Under home rule guidelines, if we’re cleaning places up, we can clean a place up and place a lien on it and in two years, the city can take it over,” he said.
“The other aspect is, the ability to enact a 1 percent sales tax instead of the B&O tax,” he said.
Eagle and mayor Damon Tillman have been proposing for a year now that Keyser eliminate its Business and Occupation Tax and instead implement a 1 percent sales tax which they call more “business friendly.”
According to Eagle, 35 municipalities in West Virginia have already been granted home rule.
Eagle said the two projects, especially the sales tax, would help the county seat be able to grow.
Council member Eric Murphy made a motion to submit the application, and finance commissioner Mike Ryan seconded it. The motion passed 4-0, with member Jennifer Junkins absent from the meeting.
Eagle said the next step is for the council to pass a resolution, which will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting on July 10.