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City of Bluefield Home Rule Plan

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Billy Hester

on 29 September 2017

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Transcript of City of Bluefield Home Rule Plan

City of Bluefield
Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program Phase II Plan

What are we asking for?
B&O Tax Reduction with 1% Sales and Use Tax
Disposition of City of Bluefield Property
"On Spot" Citations
Procurement of Architectural Services
Contracts via Resolution
Why do we need home rule?
"On Spot" Citations
Current Ordinances
do not allow for preventative measures
takes over a month and does nothing to prevent repeat offenders

New Ordinances
would allow the city the ability to issue a citation after first warning
would set a new tone for property appearance
Contracts Via Resolution
Currently contracts with other jurisdictions must be established by passing an ordinance with two readings.
This process can be reduced by the passing of a resolution, providing for a faster turn around time on "housekeeping" items for the City of Bluefield. This will assist the city as it continues to improve its relationships with the Town of Bluefield, Virginia and nearby cities in Mercer County.
Disposition of City Property
To host a public auction, the city can run up costs related to advertisements and such that could be better appropriated.

The intended buyer may not be the purchaser and property is purchased for means other than economic development. In Bluefield that often means junk storage or "empty promises developments"

This proposal would allow the city to directly convey property when the primary purpose is to facility economic development within the City of Bluefield and/or the availability of necessary or convenient resources for the benefit of its citizenry.
B&O Tax Reduction and
Retail Sales and Use Tax Implementation
The B&O Tax is an outdated, restrictive tax structure. It has been deemed business unfriendly in numerous studies and causes many businesses to locate just outside the city limits and in the case of the City of Bluefield, across the state line.

This has led to domino effect of reduced revenue leading to reduced city services, loss of populations leading to vacant and dilapidated buildings. The ability to diversify the city's revenue streams is very important to the future success of the city.
Bluefield, Virginia vs. Bluefield, WV
Procurement of Architect-Engineering Services
The reduction of the B&O tax and implementation of a sales tax is a good start in building a better business climate in West Virginia and Bluefield.
Starting a Bakery

Bluefield, VA costs:
Tax on $20,000 gross sales for Q1 ($0.16/$100) - $32
Customer charged a prepared meals tax of 5%

Bluefield, WV costs:
License - $15
Tax on $20,000 gross sales for Q1 ($.50/$100) - $100
Offer a graduated tax scale

Businesses have preferred the lower tax rate and the neighboring municipality has utilized the prepared meals tax to make significant infrastructure improvements.
Proceeds from the sales tax implementation will be reinvested back into the city budget allowing for items such as infrastructure improvements, facility upgrades, new projects, and needed equipment.
The sales tax will also provide a more fair accounting of revenues. With slim staffs and increased demands on city employees, audits are not feasible for the time required.
Joshua D. Cline
Assistant City Manager
City of Bluefield seeks to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) and select the proposal that provides the best value by taking into consideration the price, qualifications, and all other factors material to the project
We seek to build a better climate for business, more desirable neighborhoods, and the authority to better govern our municipality.
Former commercial hub of the coal fields
Decline of industry leads to a loss of businesses
Loss of businesses equals a loss of revenue
Loss of revenue equals a decline in services
Decline in services leads to a lack of pride
Lack of pride, lost momentum
Full transcript