The New City Charter
On November 19, 2020, Elkins council adopted a new city charter via the ordinance process authorized by W.Va. Code § 8-4-8. (The new charter goes into effect April 1.) Certain proposed changes had objections entered against them and could not be adopted via ordinance; council is placing several of these before voters at the March 2021 city election.
In adopting changes to the city charter via ordinance, the Elkins council followed the process laid out in West Virginia Code 8-4-8.
- Click here to read our blog post announcing this process.
- See the table at the bottom of this page to review the major charter changes that were proposed in this draft.
- Oct. 10, 2020: Class II legal ad, first publication
- Oct. 21, 2020: Class II legal ad, second publication
- November 9, 2020: Public hearing/first reading of charter change adoption ordinance
- November 19, 2020: Second and final reading of adoption ordinance (can only adopt changes with no or withdrawn objections)
- March 2, 2021: Elkins city election (ballot can include charter changes objected to during ordinance process)
- April 1, 2021: Effective date of changes adopted via both ordinance and election
Comparing the 1901 and 2021 Charters
The following table was created based on the charter draft released by Elkins council on October 10. The table has been updated with strikeouts to show changes that could not be adopted via ordinance on November 19, due to unresolved objections. This table shows only some of the proposed changes. Review the ordinance to see the full text of the new charter adopted November 19 (and effective April 1).
|1901 Charter||Proposed Changes|
|Stipulates a plan of government similar to what W. Va. state code now calls the Mayor-Council Plan (also known as “weak mayor/strong council”). Council and the mayor, as a collective group, are the city’s governing and administrative authority, with the mayor holding almost no independent authority.|
|Lists more than 80 “corporate powers and duties of council.”||Replaces list with the provision that City of Elkins has “all the powers now or hereafter granted to municipal corporations and to cities of its class by the Constitution and general laws of the State.” (1.02)|
|City council has 10 members, two from each of the city’s 5 wards. Members are elected by the voters of the wards they represent.||No change to number or qualifications.
|City elections held in March of odd-numbered years.||City elections would be held in June of odd-numbered years. (2.02)|
|Mayors serve two-year terms.|
|Clerk and treasurer are appointed to two-year terms. All other department heads (i.e., fire chief, operations manager, and police chief) are at-will employees.||All five administrative officers would be at-will employees. (Clerk: 3.06; Treasurer: 3.07)|
|Clerk is acting mayor in mayor’s absence or during vacancy in mayor’s office.||Council selects one of its own to serve as acting mayor during extended absence. In case of vacancy in mayor’s office, council appoints a new mayor to serve until the next election. (3.05)|
|Contains no procedure for preparation and presentation to council of the annual budget.||Codifies a budget process, including an annual budget message and a five-year capital plan. (Article IV) Budget is supervised by the Finance Committee. (2.09)|
|Doesn’t stipulate any standing council committees.||Stipulates five standing committees:
• Rules and Ordinances
• Municipal Properties
• Public Safety
Council/the mayor may create more committees as needed.