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Martinsburg taking steps to become a 'home rule' city

City officials have been eyeing the program as an opportunity to bring in more revenue through the implementation of a 1 percent sales tax

April 30, 2013

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg City Council, which met Monday as a committee of the whole, recommended that City Manager Mark Baldwin be authorized to begin the process to apply to become a “home rule” city in West Virginia.

Mayor George Karos and city council members received an explanation from City Attorney Floyd M. “Kin” Sayre III about the State Legislature’s recent expansion of the home rule pilot program, which now will allow 16 more cities to apply to join four others already participating in the initiative.

The home rule legislation approved by lawmakers this year would require Martinsburg to modify its gun control ordinance, but Sayre said the city’s existing restriction on firearms in City Hall and at the train station would not be affected.

City officials have been eyeing the home rule program as an opportunity to bring in more revenue through the implementation of a 1 percent sales tax.

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The law passed by lawmakers also requires the reduction of business and occupation taxes if a sales tax is adopted.

The state Home Rule Board is not slated to add more cities to the program until after June 1, 2014, which is the deadline for cities to submit materials for their application to take part in the program.

— Matthew Umstead

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