Alderson Approves Homerule Application After Public Hearing

Homerule status is one step closer for Alderson after a vote by the Alderson Town Council on Sept. 9.

The application for the town’s Homerule status moved forward with a public hearing run by Acting-Mayor Betty Thomas.

The town’s application for Homerule status moved forward with a public hearing during the meeting. The program would enable the passage of a sales tax rather than the business and occupation tax previously enacted by council in response to a budget shortfall.

The difference between the two comes down to a result from local business owners in a previous Town Council meeting — sales tax is paid by customers directly on sales, where a B&O tax is calculated on gross expenditures rather than profits alone. Specifically, the application requests four authorities for the town:

– “on the spot” code enforcement citations
– the removal of party membership requirements from local parties for election boards
– disposition of equipment or property without public auction
– a 1% sales tax and corresponding B&O tax reduction

Copenhaver highlighted that if the town is “approved under Homerule status, there will be no tax on wholesale or retail through the B&O tax. It will be a one percent consumer sales tax. … If the Homerule board does not grant our status, it will remain in effect.”

Until the Homerule status is approved, the town cannot implement a sales tax — this is the primary reason the B&O tax remains in place. If the application is approved, the sales tax could be implemented as soon as July 1, 2022.

The first reading of the ordinance was passed during the August Town Council meeting. On Sept. 9, the town approved the second reading after a public hearing on the topic.

One person, Herbert Burdette, spoke out in favor of the application during the public hearing.

“I’ve been keeping up with this Homerule thing for four months now and I would like to bring it to y’all’s attention [that you should] pass it through. It’s got it’s good points and bad points, but the good points outweigh the bad points. We need this, the town needs this. I would like for you all, … please, pass it and let it go forth. It’s a do or die situation.”

The second reading was unanimously passed by Town Council.

In other business:

— Mayor Travis Copenhaver was said to be out of town for the meeting, during which council accepted his resignation as judge as a result of his recent arrest on three felonies. For more information on that portion of the meeting, see The West Virginia Daily News’ coverage, headlined “Alderson Accepts Copenhaver’s Judgeship Resignation, Sets Hearing On Mayorship.”

— A grant application was approved looking to replace the town’s backhoe. Alderson grant writer Margeret Hambrick explained “these are the same conditions that we approved … each time the council has gotten a USDA grant. You’d read them before. We need to replace the backhoe, and this is a good way to do it.” The motion was unanimously approved.

— Board of Education member and Alderson history enthusiast Rick Parker approached the council with a donation. He explained “I have two items I’d like to give to the town so they can put it in their museum. The first is a pamphlet welcoming you to Alderson. It talks about the modern conveniences of Alderson and it still shows the Alderson City Hall as a fire department, so you know how old that is. The second thing I’m very proud of is … an egg cup that has the Alderson house emblem on it. I’ve never seen that and I’ve been around for a while. … Even though it’s cracked, the Alderson house is very important to Alderson, so if you make sure that it stays in a museum or somewhere, my brothers and I would like you to have that.” Thomas accepted both items on behalf of the town to applause.

Rick Parker, apologizing after removing his mask to address the large crowd, holds the two items he donated to Alderson.

– Updates to the town’s impound lot policy were also approved. Thomas explained the changes include “implementing the biohazard exposure rates, … implementing a $15 administrative fee, … setting up the guidelines to what officers shall do after and during the towing of a vehicle, … updating record companies and rotation lists of companies that have up to date town business licenses and are up to date on B&O tax.”


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