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The West Virginia Municipal League is sponsoring the "If I Were Mayor, I Would..." essay contest. The contest is open to all 7th grade students in West Virginia. The League wants students to learn more about municipal government and this is a great way to achieve that goal.

Three winners will be chosen from 7th grade students across West Virginia. Each will receive an award plaque and a $250 savings bond.

The Legislative Oversight Committee on Regional Jails and Correctional Facility Authority met and discussed the issue of overcrowding within the state prison facilities. Mr. Joe DeLong, Acting Director of Regional Jails, stated that they are doing the best that they can considering the funding supplied and the facilities that are available for them to work with.

Senator Clark Barnes asked that they return with a comprehensive plan which would address the issues of overcrowding. He stated that he is growing tired of seeing the same charts and nothing being done about it.

The Select Committee on PEIA, Seniors and Long Term Care met during the August Interim period to discuss benefits of retirees and costs associated with them. Mr. Ted Cheatham, Director of PEIA, stated that a trust fund being set up to help pay for health care coverage for state employees hired after July 1, 2010 could be worth an estimated 330 million with interest and earnings by the time retirees become eligible in 2040.

Eventually the fund would have to support between 40,000 and 50,000 retired employees and Cheatham explained that he didn't feel that the funding would be sufficient.

The Joint Finance Subcommittee B met during the August Interims and discussed the impact that Marcellus Shale is having on local economies.

Ms. Patti Hamilton addressed the committee and stated that one of the impacts that is taking place is that local governments are losing out on tax dollars due to current language in the State Code regarding the Hotel/Motel Tax which prevents the collection of the tax for individuals that stay in Hotels/Motels longer than 30 days.

Mayor Barbara Metcalfe of Pleasant Valley will address the subcommittee during the September Interim Meetings to provide an in-depth view from the city perspective.

The Joint Committee on Government Organization Subcommittee C met during August Interims to discuss the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Project.

Lisa Dooley, Executive Director of WVML, addressed the committee briefly and discussed the successful laws which have resulted from the Home Rule Pilot.

Mayor Andy McKenzie and City Manager Bob Herron of Wheeling also addressed the committee and responded to questions. Mayor McKenzie discussed how helpful home rule was when changing the laws for applying for a business license within Wheeling and stated that the process has been streamlined and became more cost efficient and business-friendly.

The mayors from West Virginia's cities and towns seemed in unusually high spirits. 

Perhaps it was the air at the mountaintop Snowshoe Resort in Pocahontas County where they had gathered for the West Virginia Municipal League summer meeting.

Or it could have been the sweet guitar serenade by House Speaker Rick Thompson during the Wednesday night mixer around a roaring bonfire.

But maybe it was the fact that cell service is so spotty at Snowshoe that the mayors were, for a few hours at least, not directly connected to the myriad problems they face in their communities.

Notice is hereby given that the Police Civil Service Commission of the City of Bluefield, West Virginia, will be conducting entry level tests for probationary police officers in the Bluefield, West Virginia Police Department. Applicants must be between 18 and 35 years of age, must be or become a resident of Mercer County, have a high school diploma or GED, and have a valid West Virginia Drivers License. You may apply at the City of Bluefield, Municipal Complex, 200 Rogers Street, Bluefield, WV until Friday, August 20th, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.

Angie M. Foley, Director of Human Resources

Applications for Communities on the Move! (COM) Grants, a program of West Virginia on the Move (WVOM), are now available.  

COM grants are offered to promote community-based social support projects that will increase physical activity opportunities and participation levels of WV citizens.

Application deadline is August 15, 2012 and grants are available from $3,000 to $5,000.

COM Application & Guidelines can be downloaded at or requested by email from .

Funding for this program was provided by The Benedum Foundation.

Featured in this segment: Williamson, West Virginia looks to the future by looking to sustainable development. Environment Matters is a public affairs production of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

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