LOGAN — The City of Logan is now one of West Virginia’s home rule municipalities.
The city was approved to enter the West Virginia Municipal Home Rule program during a special meeting of the Department of Revenue at the State Capitol in Charleston Wednesday, Nov. 20. Logan’s entrance into the program comes only four months after city council voted to begin the process in July.
Logan now joins around 35 other incorporated towns and cities in the Mountain State participating in the program, which started as a pilot in 2007 and became permanent in March 2019.
Under home rule, the city will now implement a 1% sales tax on every purchase within city limits, effective July 1, 2020. City leaders say the new tax will be used to better fund their fire and police pensions, demolitions of dilapidated buildings, infrastructure projects, special events and more.
“I’m excited and I’m relieved and I’m thrilled to see what this will do for the future of the City of Logan,” said city clerk Amber Miller.
The 1% sales tax will be implemented alongside the 6% state sales tax, with the revenue from the new one going directly to the city. To quell concerns citizens may have with the new tax, Miller pointed to other nearby parts of the state that are already operating under home rule.
“What people don’t realize is, you go to towns like South Charleston, you’re already doing this,” Miller said. “If you look at any receipt on any purchase that you make, you’re paying 7%. That 6% is to the state, that 1% is to the City of South Charleston, and if you want to see the great things that are happening, get on the West Virginia Municipal League Facebook page. Watch the videos, look at the growth in Bridgeport, in South Charleston, in Huntington — all of the projects that they’ve been able to do with home rule.”
Mayor Serafino Nolletti, who currently serves as president of the Municipal League, called Nov. 20 a “very emotional day.” He said the first check from the new sales tax will come in October 2020 and that it will be “really interesting” to see just how much extra revenue is generated.
“Towns are very limited on what income sources we have, very limited,” Nolletti said. “Everybody always says, ‘Why don’t you all do this? Why don’t you all do that? Why don’t you all do this? How come you don’t tear this building down? Why don’t you fix this sidewalk? What about these streets?’
It takes money, and this home rule is another tool for all cities to have another revenue source.”
Nolletti also said that his current administration in city hall has laid the foundation for the mayors and councils that will succeed them, and that the home rule ordinance can always be amended if the money needs to be used for something else.
The City of Montgomery, which took a hit when the West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) moved to Beckley, was also accepted into the home rule program during the special meeting.