27 July 2009

W.Va. Home Rule Project under Fire

A group of insurance companies has sued over Huntington's approach to the state's ongoing "home rule" pilot project, prompting a local lawmaker to urge repeal of the city ordinance at issue, the Herald-Dispatch reports.

As the newspaper explains, a 2008 state panel "chose Huntington, Charleston, Bridgeport and Wheeling to participate in a five-year pilot home rule program created by the Legislature. The intent of the program is to give cities more autonomy on taxation and administrative and personnel issues."

The West Virginia Insurance Federation objects to a resulting Huntington ordinance "that allows the city to withhold insurance claim proceeds from property owners if they don't tear down their fire-damaged structures," the article said. "Huntington's ordinance requires insurance companies to withhold $2,000 from every $15,000 of benefits payable to a policyholder on every total fire loss within the city. The withheld proceeds would be placed in escrow by the city and not released until all debris has been removed."

Delegate Jim Morgan, D-Cabell, has asked city officials to remove the threat to the overall pilot project. He's also issued an open letter to Mayor Kim Wolfe, the Herald-Dispatch reports.

No comments: