City moving forward with home rule

WEIRTON Weirton Council held a public hearing Monday regarding its Home Rule program application, although no citizens were present to comment.

During Monday’s council meeting, which followed the public hearing, officials voted unanimously to move forward with its proposed program, which must be approved by a state panel in Charleston in order to go into effect. It includes four items.

If approved, the program would allow for probationary employment of inspections officials while providing them time to obtain their certification.

The program would also allow “on site” citations for external property maintenance issues.

Weirton police officers would gain the power to enter into Alcohol Beverage Control Commission certified businesses to investigate or prevent a crime without having an ABCC agent accompany them.

The city also would have more flexibility in dealing with select traffic issues – including lights, signage, speed limits – on state roads within city limits without having to get approval from the state Department of Highways.

Two letters were received by the city manager’s office during the past month while the application was on public display.

Lester McHenry, a Weirton resident, expressed concern about further expanding the powers of local government and argued against the Home Rule program in his letter.

John S. Barone, president of Barone Realty Service Co., also wrote a letter against implementing Home Rule. He said that property maintenance citations sometimes amount to “harassment and terrorizing,” and he hoped “this does not mean more of the same.”

(Dalrymple can be contacted at sdalrymple@heraldstaronline.com)