Weirton is in the process of implementing new regulations and abilities under the state's Home Rule program.
The proposed program, which must be approved by a state panel in order to go into effect, would include four items:
* Allowing probationary employment of inspections officials while providing them time to obtain their certification.
* Allowing "on site" citations for external property maintenance issues.
* Providing city police officers with the power to enter into Alcohol Beverage Control Commission certified businesses to investigate or prevent a crime without having an ABCC agent accompany them.
* Allowing the city to move forward with select traffic issues - including lights, signage, speed limits - on state roads in the city without having to get approval from the state Department of Highways.
Beginning today, Weirton residents will have an opportunity to view the proposed home rule program by visiting the city manager's office any time from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. April 7, during which time residents will be able to speak on the issue or present written comments.
Written comments also can be sent to: Valerie Means, Weirton City Manager, 200 Municipal Plaza, Weirton, WV 26062.
The point of the Home Rule program is provide municipalities with an opportunity to have some new abilities they otherwise would be unable to use under state law. While some cities have used the program to set up new fee structures or taxes, there currently are no such plans included in Weirton's application. Either way, this is all new ground for Weirton, and the thoughts of the city's residents need to be heard on the issues being proposed.
We encourage Weirton's citizens to study the proposal carefully and let city council know their thoughts before officials move forward.