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Introduced Version Senate Bill 295 History

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WEST virginia legislature

2018 regular session

Introduced

Senate Bill 295

By Senator Boso

[Introduced January 16, 2018; Referred
to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; and then to the Committee on Finance
]

A BILL to amend and reenact §7-20-1, §7-20-2, §7-20-3, §7-20-6, §7-20-7, §7-20-7a, §7-20-14, §7-20-15, §7-20-16, §7-20-23, and §7-20-24 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto twenty-seven new sections, designated §7-20-25, §7-20-26, §7-20-27, §7-20-28, §7-20-29, §7-20-30, §7-20-31, §7-20-32, §7-20-33, §7-20-34, §7-20-35, §7-20-36, §7-20-37, §7-20-38, §7-20-39, §7-20-40, §7-20-41, §7-20-42, §7-20-43, §7-20-44, §7-20-45, §7-20-46, §7-20-47, §7-20-48, §7-20-49, §7-20-50, and §7-20-51; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §31-15-16d, all relating to Local Powers Act; renaming short title the County Local Powers Act; amending its purpose and legislative findings; amending certain definitions and adding definitions; amending criteria and requirements to implement and collect certain fees; making technical corrections; amending authorization for county commissions related to imposition of impact fees, services fees and other taxes; providing for county commission review and permissive approval of impact fees; amending use of proceeds from sale of bonds; adding payment sources for bonds; allowing the reallocation of certain ad valorem property taxes after ratification of constitutional amendment and procedures and requirements related to reallocation of ad valorem property taxes; specifying effective date; providing requirements and procedures concerning creation and finalization of county road construction project plans and amendments thereto; specifying public hearing and notice requirements and opportunity for public comment; requiring consent; permitting joint road construction projects; setting forth duties, authorities, and jurisdiction of Commissioner of Highways; authorizing intergovernmental agreements and setting forth requirements related thereto; providing for the termination of road construction projects plan; providing for application for approval of road construction project plans and application content; providing for certification of road construction project; providing rule-making authority; providing for acceptance into state road system; qualifying road construction projects as public improvements; providing for reporting by Commissioner of Highways; creating special revenue revolving fund and for county subaccounts; providing for funding and expenditures from account; authorizing West Virginia Economic Development Authority to issue revenue bonds and refunding bonds; permitting cash-basis projects; setting forth requirements concerning issuance, selling, execution, and use of bonds; permitting trust agreements; specifying that bonds and other obligations undertaken by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority do not constitute a debt or a pledge of the faith and credit or taxing power of this state or of any county, municipality or any other political subdivision; specifying that bonds are negotiable instruments; providing exemption from taxation; waiving and exempting personal liability; providing that authority for exercise of powers are cumulative and neither powers nor bonds are limited; providing for termination of special allocation of property taxes; providing for excess fund deposit; specifying that powers are supplemental; providing for severability; and providing authority and requirements related to West Virginia Economic Development Authority, including authority to issue bonds, limitations, payments, certification, and return of unused funds.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:


CHAPTER 7. COUNTY COMMISSIONS AND OFFICERS.

ARTICLE 20.  FEES AND EXPENDITURES FOR COUNTY DEVELOPMENT.

Part I. Impact Fees and Service Fees.

§7-20-1. Short title.


This article shall be known as the County Local Powers Act.


§7-20-2. Purpose and findings.


(a) It is the purpose of this article to provide for the fair distribution of costs for county development by authorizing the assessment and collection of fees to offset the cost of commercial, industrial, and residential development within affected counties.

(b) The Legislature hereby makes the following findings:

(1) The residents, taxpayers, and users of county facilities and services, in affected counties, have contributed significant funds in the form of taxes and user charges toward the cost of existing county facilities and services, which represent a substantial and incalculable investment;

(2) Affected counties in West Virginia are experiencing an increased demand for development which is causing strain on tax revenues and user charges at existing levels and impairing the ability of taxpayers, residents, and users to bear the cost of increased demand for county facilities and services. In some instances, county borrowing has been required to meet the demand;

(3) Equitable considerations require that future residents and users of existing county facilities and services contribute toward the investment already made in those facilities and services;

(4) Sound fiscal policy in the efficient administration of county government requires that the imposition of taxes and user charges be commensurate to with the actual yearly cost of county facilities and services;

(5) Accumulations of large financial reserves for future capital expenditures unjustly exact unneeded current funds from taxpayers and users; and

(6) County borrowing unnecessarily increases the cost of government by the amount of debt service and should be avoided unless considered absolutely necessary to meet an existing public need; and

(7) County economic development is hampered by the lack of state dollars to fund new roads and bridges and related infrastructure and to fund improvements to existing state roads and bridges and related infrastructure.


§7-20-3. Definitions.


For purposes of this article:

(a) “Capital improvements” means the following public facilities or assets that are owned, supported, or established by, county government or on behalf of, a government entity:

(1) Water treatment and distribution facilities;

(2) Wastewater treatment and disposal facilities;

(3) Sanitary sewers;

(4) Stormwater, drainage, and flood control facilities;

(5) Public primary and secondary school facilities;

(6) Public road systems and rights-of-way owned by the West Virginia Department of Transportation or another government entity;

(7) Parks and recreational facilities; and

(8) Police, emergency medical, rescue, and fire protection facilities; and

(9) Conduit.

“Capital improvements”, as defined herein, is limited to those improvements that are treated as capitalized expenses according to generally accepted governmental accounting principles, or generally accepted accounting principles in the case of certain county economic development entities, and that have an expected useful life of no less than three years. “Capital improvement” does not include costs associated with the operation, repair, maintenance, or full replacement of capital improvements. “Capital improvement” does include reasonable costs for planning, design, engineering, land acquisition and other costs directly associated with the capital improvements described herein.

(b) “Conduit” means a man-made conveyance constructed and operated for the purpose of facilitating the provision of any public utility service as defined in chapter 24 of this code and any video, telecommunications, or information service as defined in 47 U. S. C. §151, et seq.

(c) “County economic development entity” means a county economic development authority established pursuant to §7-12-1 et seq. of this code or if a county does not have a county economic development authority established pursuant to that article, an entity designated by resolution of the county commission of the county as the lead entity for economic development activities for the purpose of encouraging economic development in the county which entity may be, but is not limited to being, redevelopment authorities created pursuant to §16-18-1 et seq. of this code; county economic development corporations; and regional economic development councils, corporations, or partnerships.

(b) (d) “County services” means the following: (1) Services provided by administration and administrative personnel, law enforcement and its support personnel; (2) street light service; (3) firefighting service; (4) ambulance service; (5) fire hydrant service; (6) roadway maintenance and other services provided by roadway maintenance personnel; (7) public utility systems and services provided by public utility systems personnel, water; and (8) all other direct and indirect county services authorized by this code.

(c) (e) “Direct county services” means those public services authorized and provided by various county agencies or departments including, but not limited to, county economic development entities.

(f) “Economic development” means any activity by a government entity seeking to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community and its citizens by creating or retaining jobs, growing incomes, and increasing the tax base.

(d) “Indirect county services” means those public services authorized and provided by commissioned agents, agencies or departments of the county

(g) “Governmental entity” means the state and any county, municipality, or other governmental unit or political subdivision of the state, public corporation established by the state, or a political subdivision thereof, and county economic development entities.

(e) (h) “Growth county” means any county within the state with an averaged population growth rate in excess of one percent per year as determined from the most recent decennial census counts and forecasted, within decennial census count years, by official records of government or generally approved standard statistical estimate procedures:  Provided, That once “growth county” status is achieved it is permanent in nature and the powers derived hereby are continued.  However, beginning July 1, 2018, the term “growth county” means and includes all of the 55 counties in this state regardless of their population.

(i) “Indirect county services” means those public services authorized and provided by commissioned agents, agencies, or departments of the county.

(f) “User” means any member of the public who uses or may have occasion to use county facilities and services as defined herein

(g) (j) “Impact fees” means any charge, fee, or assessment levied as a condition of the following: (1) Issuance of a subdivision or site plan approval; (2) issuance of a building permit; and (3) approval of a certificate of occupancy, or other development or construction approval when any portion of the revenues collected is intended to fund any portion of the costs of capital improvements for any public facilities or county services not otherwise permitted by law. An impact fee does not include charges for remodeling, rehabilitation, or other improvements to an existing structure or rebuilding a damaged structure, provided there is no increase in gross floor area or in the number of dwelling units that result therefrom.

(h) “Proportionate share” means the cost of capital improvements that are reasonably attributed to new development less any credits or offsets for construction or dedication of land or capital improvements, past or future payments made or reasonably anticipated to be made by new development in the form of user fees, debt service payments, taxes or other payments toward capital improvement costs.

(i) “Reasonable benefit” means a benefit received from the provision of a capital improvement greater than that received by the general public located within the county wherein an impact fee is being imposed

(j) (k) “Plan” means a county, comprehensive, general, master, or other land use plan as described herein in part I of this article.

(k) (l) “Program” means the capital improvements program described herein.

(m) “Proportionate share” means the cost of capital improvements that are reasonably attributed to new development less any credits or offsets for construction or dedication of land or capital improvements, past or future payments made, or reasonably anticipated to be made, by new development in the form of user fees, debt service payments, taxes, or other payments toward capital improvement costs.

(n) “Reasonable benefit” means a benefit received from the provision of a capital improvement greater than that received by the general public located within the county wherein an impact fee is being imposed.

(o) “Related infrastructure” means and includes water distribution facilities, sanitary sewers and stormwater, drainage, and flood control facilities: Provided, That the Division of Highways is not responsible for financing, constructing, installing, or maintaining related infrastructure which may be located on a Division of Highways’ right-of-way.

(p) “Road” means a public highway, road, bridge, tunnel, or overpass to be used for the transportation of persons or goods that is, or will be upon completion, part of the state road system as defined in §7-12-1 et seq. of this code.

(q) “Road project” means any project, including related infrastructure, to acquire, design, construct, expand, renovate, extend, enlarge, increase, equip, improve, maintain, or operate a road in this state that is under the jurisdiction of the Division of Highways: Provided, That the Division of Highways is not responsible for financing, constructing, installing, or maintaining related infrastructure which may be located on a Division of Highways’ right-of-way.

(r) “User” means any member of the public who uses or may have occasion to use county facilities and services as defined herein.

(l) (s) “Unincorporated area” and “total unincorporated area” means all lands and resident estates of a county that are not included within the corporate, annexed areas, or legal service areas of an incorporated or chartered municipality, city, town, or village located in the State of West Virginia.

(t) “West Virginia Commissioner of Highways” or “Commissioner of Highways” means the state agency created in §17-1-2 of this code.

(u) “West Virginia Economic Development Authority” or “authority” means the governmental entity created in §31-15-5 of this code.


§7-20-6. Criteria and requirements necessary to implement collection of fees.


(a) As a prerequisite to authorizing counties to levy impact fees related to population growth and or public service needs as provided in §7-20-7 of this code, counties shall meet the following requirements:

(1) A demonstration that current infrastructure is hampering economic development in the county or that the county’s population growth rate history as determined from the most recent base decennial census counts of a county, utilizing generally approved standard statistical estimate procedures, in excess of one percent annually averaged over a five-year period since the last decennial census count; or a demonstration that a total population growth-rate projection of one percent per annum for an ensuing five-year period, based on standard statistical estimate procedures, from the current official population estimate of the county;

(2) Adopting Adopt a countywide comprehensive plan;

(3) Reviewing Periodic review and updating any of a comprehensive plan at no less than five-year intervals;

(4) Drafting and adopting a comprehensive zoning ordinance;

(5) Drafting and adopting a subdivision control ordinance

(6) (4) Keeping Imposing and keeping in place a formal building permit and review system which provides a process to regulate the authorization of applications relating to construction or structural modification. The county shall adopt, pursuant to §7-1-3n of this code, the state building code into any such building permit and review system; and

(7) (5) Providing Provide an improvement program which shall include:

(A) Developing and maintaining a list within the county of particular sites with development potential;

(B) Developing and maintaining standards of service for capital improvements which are fully or partially funded with revenues collected from impact fees, service fees, property tax collections reallocated as provided in §7-20-25 of this code, taxes imposed pursuant to this article, or any combination thereof; and

(C) Lists of proposed capital improvements from all areas, containing descriptions of any such proposed capital improvements, cost estimates, projected time frames for constructing such improvements and proposed or anticipated funding sources.

(b) Capital improvement programs may include provisions to provide for the expenditure of impact fees for any legitimate county purpose.  This may include the expenditure of fees for partial funding of any particular capital improvement where other funding exists from any source other than the county or exists in combination with other funds available to the county: Provided, That for such expenditures to be considered legitimate, no county or other local authority may deny or withhold any reasonable benefit that may be derived therefrom from any development project for which such impact fee or fees have been paid.

(c) Capital improvement programs for public elementary and secondary school facilities may include provisions to spend impact fees based on a computation related to the following: (1) The existing local tax base; and (2) the adjusted value of accumulated infrastructure investment, based on net depreciation, and any remaining debt owed thereon.  Any such computation must establish the value of any equity shares in the net worth of an impacted school system facility, regardless of the existence of any need to expand such facility.  Impact fee revenues may only be used for capital replacement or expansion.

(d) Additional development areas may be added to any plan or capital improvements program provided for hereunder if a county government so desires.  The standards governing the construction or structural modification for any such additional area may not deviate from those adopted and maintained at the time such addition is made.

(e) The county may periodically modify annually any capital improvements plan in addition to any impact fee rates based thereon, pursuant to the following:

(1) The number and extent of development projects begun in the past year;

(2) The number and extent of public facilities existing or under construction;

(3) The changing needs of the general population;

(4) The availability of any other funding sources; and

(5) Any other relevant and significant factor applicable to a legitimate goal or goals of any such capital improvement plan.


§7-20-7. Establishment of impact fees; levies may be used to fund existing capital improvements.

(a) Impact fees assessed against a development project to fund capital improvements and public services may not exceed the actual proportionate share of any benefit realized by such project relative to the benefit to the resident taxpayers.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, those counties that meet the requirements of section six of this article are hereby authorized to assess, levy, collect, and administer any tax or fee as has been or may be specifically authorized by the Legislature by general law to the municipalities of this state: Provided, That any assessment, levy, or collection shall be delayed 60 days from its regular effective date: Provided, however, That in the event 15 percent of the qualified voters of the county by petition duly signed by them in their own handwriting and filed with the county commission within 45 days after any impact fee or levy is imposed by the county commission, pursuant to this article, the fee or levy protested may not become effective until it is ratified by a majority of the legal votes cast thereon by the qualified voters of such county at any primary, general or special election as the county commission directs.  Voting thereon may not take place until after notice of the subcommission of referendum on the fee a or levy on and the ballot ballots has have been given by publication of published as a Class II legal advertisement and publication area shall be in the county where such the fee or levy is imposed: Provided further, That counties may not double tax by applying a given tax within any corporate boundary in which that municipality has implemented such tax.  Any such taxes or fees collected under this law may be used to fund a proportionate share of the cost of existing capital improvements and public services where it is shown that all or a portion of existing capital improvements and public services were provided in anticipation of the needs of new development.

(b) In determining a proportionate share of capital improvements and public services costs, the following factors shall be considered:

(1) The need for new capital improvements and public services to serve new development based on an existing capital improvements plan that shows: (A) Any current deficiencies in existing capital improvements and services that serve existing development and the means by which any such deficiencies may be eliminated within a reasonable period of time by means other than impact fees or additional levies; and (B) any additional demands reasonably anticipated as the result of capital improvements and public services created by new development;

(2) The availability of other sources of revenue to fund capital improvements and public services, including user charges, existing taxes, intergovernmental transfers, in addition to any special tax or assessment alternatives that may exist;

(3) The cost of existing capital improvements and public services;

(4) The method by which the existing capital improvements and public services are financed;

(5) The extent to which any new development, required to pay impact fees, has contributed to the cost of existing capital improvements and public services in order to determine if any credit or offset may be due such development as a result thereof;

(6) The extent to which any new development, required to pay impact fees, is reasonably projected to contribute to the cost of the existing capital improvements and public services in the future through user fees, debt service payments or other necessary payments related to funding the cost of existing capital improvements and public services;

(7) The extent to which any new development is required, as a condition of approval, to construct and dedicate capital improvements and public services which may give rise to the future accrual of any credit or offsetting contribution; and

(8) The time-price differentials inherent in reasonably determining amounts paid and benefits received at various times that may give rise to the accrual of credits or offsets due new development as a result of past payments.

(c) Each county shall assess impact fees pursuant to a standard formula so as to ensure fair and similar treatment to all affected persons or projects.  A county commission may provide partial or total funding from general or other nonimpact fee funding sources for capital improvements and public services directly related to new development, when such development benefits some public purpose, such as providing affordable housing and creating or retaining employment in the community.


§7-20-7a. Impact fees for affordable housing.


(a) The Legislature finds that:

(1) There is a lack of affordable housing in counties that impose impact fees because the cost of the fees along with the economic conditions in those counties has resulted in low and moderate income persons, persons on fixed incomes, the elderly and persons with special needs, not being able to obtain safe, decent and affordable housing;

(2) A lack of affordable housing affects the ability of a community to develop and maintain strong and stable economies, and impairs the health, stability and self-esteem of individuals and families; and

(3) Financing affordable housing particularly in high growth counties is becoming increasingly difficult.

For these reasons, it is in the public interest to encourage counties that have imposed impact fees and those considering the imposition of impact fees to fairly assess and discount impact fees so as not to limit safe, decent, and affordable housing.

(b) On or before July 1, 2012 A county imposing impact fees shall enact an affordable housing component with a discount impact fees schedule, based upon the new homes value compared to the most recent annual single dwelling residential housing index created in §11-1-2b of this code, to the county’s impact fees ordinance.  The impact fees schedule shall be updated annually to reflect the changes to the single dwelling residential housing index.

(c) The affordable housing component shall:

(1) Take into account all the different types of housing, including single family detached, single family attached, duplex, town house, apartment, condominium and manufactured home; and

(2) Include a discount for mobile homes, as defined in §17A-1-1 of this code, based upon the value set out in the National Automobile Dealers Association book.

(d) The county commission shall annually review impact fees imposed pursuant to this article and may approve, by a majority vote, any increase or decrease in the impact fees schedule.


§7-20-14. Use of proceeds from sale of bonds.


(a) The proceeds from the sale of any bonds issued under authority of this article §7-20-13 of this code shall be applied only for the purpose for which the bonds were issued: Provided, That any accrued interest and premium received in any such sale shall be applied to the payment of the principal of or the interest on the bonds sold.  If for any reason any portion of the proceeds is not be needed for the purpose for which the bonds were issued, then the unneeded portion of the proceeds shall be applied to the purchase of bonds for cancellation or payment of the principal of or the interest on the bonds, or held in reserve for the payment thereof.

(b) The costs of acquiring any special infrastructure project shall be deemed to include the following:

(1) Capital costs, including, but not limited to, the actual costs of the construction of public works or improvements, capital improvements and facilities, new buildings, structures, and fixtures, the demolition, alteration, remodeling, repair, or reconstruction of existing buildings, structures and fixtures, environmental remediation, the acquisition of equipment and site clearing, grading, and preparation;

(2) Financing costs, including, but not limited to, an interest paid to holders of evidences of indebtedness issued to pay for project costs, all costs of issuance and any redemption premiums, credit enhancement or other related costs;

(3) Real property acquisition costs, including, but not limited to, rights-of-way;

(4) Professional service costs, including, but not limited to, those costs incurred for architectural planning, engineering, and legal advice and services;

(5) Imputed administrative costs, including, but not limited to, reasonable charges for time spent by county employees in connection with the implementation of a project;

(6) Relocation costs, including, but not limited to, those relocation payments made following condemnation and job training and retraining;

(7) Organizational costs, including, but not limited to, the costs of conducting environmental impact and other studies, and the costs of informing the public with respect to the implementation of project plans;

(8) Payments made, in the discretion of the county commission, which are found to be necessary or convenient to the implementation of project plans; and

(9) That portion of costs related to the construction of environmental protection devices, storm or sanitary sewer lines, water lines, amenities or streets or the rebuilding or expansion of streets, or the construction, alteration, rebuilding or expansion of which is necessitated by the project plan, whether or not the construction, alteration, rebuilding or expansion is within the area or on land contiguous thereto.


§7-20-15. No contribution by county.


(a) No county commission shall have has the power to pay out of its general funds or otherwise contribute any of the costs of acquiring, constructing or financing a special infrastructure project to be acquired, constructed or financed, in whole or in part, out of the proceeds from the sale of revenue bonds issued under the authority of this article:  Provided, That this provision shall not be construed to does not prevent a county from accepting donations of property to be used as a part of an infrastructure project or to be used for defraying any part of the cost of any infrastructure project or from imposing a service fee as provided in §7-20-12 of this code, which is dedicated, in whole or in part, to the infrastructure project or to payment of debt service on revenue bonds issued pursuant to this article.

(b) The bonds issued pursuant to this article §7-20-13 of this code shall be payable solely from: (1) The revenue derived from the infrastructure project or the financing thereof; (2) the service fee imposed pursuant to §7-20-12 of this code; or (3) property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code; (4) any revenue collected pursuant to this article that is deposited in a special revenue fund established by the county commission that is not part of the general revenue of the county; or (5) any combination of these sources.

(c) No county commission shall have the authority under this article to levy any taxes for the purpose of paying any part of the cost of acquiring, constructing or financing an infrastructure project except as provided in this article.  However, all necessary preliminary expenses actually incurred by a county commission in the making of surveys, taking options, preliminary planning and all other expenses necessary to be paid prior to the issuance, sale and delivery of the revenue bonds, may be paid by the county commission out of any surplus contained in any item of budgetary appropriation or any revenues, including, but not limited to, service fees, collected in excess of anticipated revenues, which shall be reimbursed and repaid out of the proceeds of the sale of the revenue bonds.


§7-20-16. Bonds made legal investments.


Bonds issued under the provisions of this article §7-20-13 of this code shall be legal investments for banks, building and loan associations, and insurance companies organized under the laws of this state and for a business development corporation organized pursuant to §31-14-1 et seq. of this code.


§7-20-23. Excess funds; termination of service fee.


(a) When revenue bonds have been issued as provided in this article §7-20-13 of this code and the amount of service fees imposed pursuant to §7-20-12 of this code, if any, and collected by the sheriff, less costs of administration, collection and enforcement, exceeds the amount needed to pay project costs and annual debt service, including the finding of required debt service and maintenance reserves, the additional amount shall be set aside in a separate fund and used to retire some or all of the outstanding revenue bonds before their maturity date.

(b) Once the revenue bonds issued as provided in this article §7-20-13 of this code are no longer outstanding or the county commission determines that sufficient reserves have been or will be accumulated as of a specified date to pay all future debt service on the outstanding bonds, the service fee to payable services on a subsequent issue of revenue bonds imposed pursuant to §7-20-12 of this code may not be imposed or collected for subsequent weeks after that date.  Termination of the service fee as provided in this section shall does not bar or otherwise prevent the county commission from collecting service fees that accrued before the termination date.


§7-20-24. Severability.


If any section, clause, provision or portion of part I of this article shall be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such holding shall not affect any other section, clause or provision of this article which is not in and of itself unconstitutional.


Part II. County Road and Bridge Construction and Other Infrastructure Capital Improvement Projects.

§7-20-25. Ad valorem property taxes on capital additions.


(a) Pursuant to section one-d, article X of the West Virginia Constitution and notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, when a new manufacturing facility or a capital addition to an existing manufacturing facility qualifies for treatment under §11-6F-1 et seq. of this code, then for the first tax year that the facility or capital addition thereto does not qualify for tax treatment, in whole or in part, under that article, the sheriff shall deposit property taxes paid by the owner of a new manufacturing facility or a capital addition to an existing manufacturing facility, up to one hundred percent of those taxes as specified in the county commission order authorizing the allocation, in the county’s special fund established for county road and bridge construction and other infrastructure capital improvement projects.  However, this reallocation does not apply to taxes attributable to excess levies or to levies for bonded indebtedness. Upon order of the county commission, the sheriff shall periodically transfer moneys in this special fund to pay: (1) For capital improvements that are not part of a road construction project on a pay-as-you-go basis; (2) debt service on revenue bonds issued pursuant to this article to pay for infrastructure capital improvements that are not part of a road construction project; and (3) road construction projects as provided in §7-20-35 of this code.

(b) §7-20-25(a) of this code takes effect upon ratification of section one-d, article X of the West Virginia Constitution.

(c) Reallocation of certain property tax collections as provided in section one-d, article X of the West Virginia Constitution and §7-20-25(a) of this code shall be for the property tax year (calendar year) that begins after the county commission enters an order authorizing the reallocation. However, the county commission may not adopt or enter this order until after receipt of a resolution adopted by the county board of education supporting the infrastructure capital improvement project and, if the project is a road or bridge construction project that will be owned by the West Virginia Department of Transportation, receipt by the county commission of a memorandum of understanding executed by the Commissioner of Highways and the president of the county commission.

(d) The reallocation of certain property tax collections pursuant to §7-20-25(a) of this code shall end beginning with the property tax year (calendar year) that begins after the county commission enters an order terminating the reallocation.  However, a county’s reallocation shall continue for not more than 30 property tax years, unless revenue bonds or refunding revenue bonds for the infrastructure capital improvement project remain outstanding, in which event the county commission shall enter an order terminating the reallocation for the property tax year that begins after the bond trustee certifies to the commission that the debt service has been paid or that sufficient funds exist to pay the remaining debt service as it becomes due.


§7-20-26. Creation of county road construction project plan.


County commissions, upon their own initiative or upon application of: (1) A highway authority; (2) a local, county or regional economic development authority; or (3) any resident of the county may propose creation of a road construction project plan for the county or propose an amendment to an existing road construction project plan of the county. This plan may include related infrastructure that is necessary or convenient to economic development adjacent to the proposed road. When a plan includes related infrastructure, the county commission shall consult with the West Virginia Economic Development Authority in order to maximize the development potential of projects in the plan. Any related infrastructure included in a plan or project shall be constructed and maintained by the utility, public service district, company or other private or public entity utilizing or operating the related infrastructure. Road construction project plans are limited to those for the construction, reconstruction, improvement or modernization of state roads, as defined in §7-12A-1 of this code, that are part of the state road system, as defined in §7-12A-1 of this code, or that will become part of the state road system upon completion of the construction. All construction, reconstruction, improvement or modernization and maintenance of state roads shall be done by or under the supervision of the Commissioner of Highways.


§7-20-27. Public hearing required.


(a) General. — After the proposed road construction project plan, or proposed project plan amendment, is drafted, the county commission shall hold one or more public hearings at which interested persons may express their views on the county’s proposed road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing road construction project plan, including related infrastructure, if any.

(b) Notice of public hearing. — Notice of the public hearing or hearings shall be published as a Class II legal advertisement in accordance with the requirements of §59-3-1 et seq. of this code.  The published notice shall include, at a minimum:

(1) The date, time, place and purpose of the public hearing or hearings;

(2) A description of each road construction project included in the proposed road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, if any, in sufficient detail to give the public notice of the contents of the proposed project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including any related infrastructure, to cause residents of the county and other interested persons to examine the proposed road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, and attend the public hearing or submit written comments should they so choose;

(3) Identify the places in the county where the proposed road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, may be viewed, one of which places shall be the county commission’s webpage; and

(4) Explain whether one or more projects in the proposed road construction project plan, or in the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, if any, will be financed, in whole or in part, by certain ad valorem property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code.

(c) Notice by mail. — On or before the first day of publication of the public notice, a copy of the notice shall be sent by first class mail to the Commissioner of Highways, the Director of the West Virginia Development Office, the county superintendent of schools, or president of the county board of education, and to the mayor of each municipality located within the county.  Additionally, when the county commission reasonably anticipates that a proposed road construction project may affect a bordering county, a copy of the notice shall also be sent by first class mail to the president of the county commission of the bordering county or counties.

(d) Opportunity to be heard. — All persons who appear at the public hearing shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to express their views on all or any part of the proposed road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, if any.

(e) Written comments. — Additionally, written comments may be submitted to the county commission before, during or within five business days after the public hearing. Timely mailing of the written comments to the county commission, at the mailing address of the courthouse, postage prepaid, shall be deemed timely submission of the written comments.

(f) Recording of public hearing. — Each public hearing shall be recorded by a court reporter or be digitally recorded.


§7-20-28. Finalization of project plan or amendment.


(a) Resolution of county commission. — After both the public hearing and the public comment period close, and after receipt of any required resolution of the governing body of a municipality as provided in §7-20-28(b) of this code, the county commission may, by resolution, finalize its roads construction project plan, or its proposed amendment to an existing road construction project plan, including related infrastructure, if any, and, after prioritizing each project, adopt a resolution authorizing submission of an application for the road construction project plan, or for the amendment to an existing project plan, as finalized, to the Commissioner of Highways for review and approval, as provided in §7-20-11 of this code.

(b) Consent of municipality in which project located. — No county commission may adopt a resolution approving a road construction project plan, or an amendment to a previously approved project plan, any portion of which is located within the boundaries of a Class I, II, III, or IV municipality, without the adoption of a resolution by the governing body of that municipality consenting to construction of the project within the municipality.


§7-20-29. Order adopting road construction project plan or plan amendment.


(a) A road construction project plan, or an amendment to an existing project plan, may not be adopted by order of the county commission until after the project plan, or the plan amendment, including related infrastructure, if any, has been approved by the Commissioner of Highways.

(b) Upon approval of a road construction project plan, or a plan amendment, by the Commissioner of Highways, and receipt of a resolution adopted by the county board of education supporting the road construction project plan or plan amendment, the county commission may enter an order that:

(1) Describes each approved road construction project sufficiently to identify with ordinary and reasonable certainty the geographic location in the county of each road construction project included in the county’s plan and any related infrastructure;

(2) Assigns a name to the road construction project for identification purposes, which name shall be the name given to the project by the Commissioner of Highways should the commissioner assign a name to the project;

(3) Includes a geographic or other designation; and

(4) Assigns a project number that begins with the federal information processing code number for the county followed by a hyphen and a consecutive number beginning with the number “01”. Each additional road construction project in the county approved by the Commissioner of Highways shall be assigned the next consecutive number.

(c) Implements §7-20-25 of this code for the next property tax year (calendar year) that begins after the order is entered by the county commission.


§7-20-30. Amendment of road construction project plan.


(a) In general. — A road construction project plan adopted by order of the county commission, including related infrastructure, if any, may be amended by the county commission at any time to add one or more projects, or delete one or more projects, or redesignate the order in which projects are to be completed as funds become available: Provided, That  once  a  particular  road  construction project has been approved by the Commissioner of Highways and an intergovernmental agreement is executed as provided in this article for that project, the project may not be revised by the county commission without the express written approval of the Commissioner of Highways.

(b) Procedure to amend project plan. — The procedures in this article that apply to creation of a road construction project plan shall also apply to each proposed amendment to the adopted road construction project plan including any related infrastructure.


§7-20-31. Joint road construction projects.


(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the citizens of the state would benefit from coordinated road construction efforts by county commissions that enter an order reallocating certain property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code.

(b) Notwithstanding any other section of this code to the contrary, any two or more county commissions may contract to share expenses and to share property tax collections reallocated as provided in §7-20-25 of this code, on a pro rata or other basis, to facilitate construction of road construction projects within their respective counties, including related infrastructure, if any.

(c) When a road construction project begins in one county and ends in one or more other counties of this state, the county commission of each county may, by resolution, adopt a written intergovernmental agreement with each county and the Commissioner of Highways regarding the proposed multicounty road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any.

(d) No county commission may withdraw from an intergovernmental agreement as long as revenue bonds remain outstanding, the proceeds of which were used by the Commissioner of Highways to finance construction of the road.

(e) No withdrawing county commission shall be entitled to the return of any money or property advanced to the road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any.

(f) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, any county commission that reallocates certain property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code may agree with one or more other counties that also reallocate certain property tax collections as provided in said section that have an interest in completion of a proposed road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any, may enter into an intergovernmental agreement with respect to the pooling of certain property tax collections reallocated pursuant to said section to finance construction of the road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any, either on a cash basis or to pay debt service on revenue bonds issued by the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to fund the road construction project.

(g) The obligations of the parties under any intergovernmental agreement executed pursuant to this article shall not be debt within the meaning of section six or eight, article X of the West Virginia Constitution.

(h) Any intergovernmental agreement shall be approved by resolution adopted by a majority vote of the county commission of each county participating in the agreement and by the Commissioner of Highways. After the resolution is adopted, the agreement shall be signed by at least one member of the county commission and by the Commissioner of Highways.

(i) The Commissioner of Highways is authorized to enter into intergovernmental agreements with county commissions or other political subdivisions of the state, or with the federal government or any agency thereof, respecting the financing, planning and construction of roads and bridges, including related infrastructure, if any, constructed pursuant to this part of this article.


§7-20-32. Termination of road construction project plan.


(a) General. — No road construction project plan may be in existence for a period longer than 30 years, except as otherwise provided in this section, and no revenue bonds secured by collections of property taxes reallocated pursuant to §7-20-25 of this code may have a final maturity date of more than 30 years after date of issuance of the revenue bonds.

(b) Extension of plan. — Each amendment of a county’s road construction project plan approved by the Commissioner of Highways that results in execution of an intergovernmental agreement by the county commission and the Commissioner of Highways shall extend the term of the project plan for another 30 years beginning with the day the last party to sign, signs the intergovernmental agreement.

(c) Prohibition on termination or rate reduction. — The county commission may not repeal the order allocating property taxes paid on certain manufacturing facilities or capital additions thereto pursuant to §7-20-25 of this code, or reduce the rates at which the taxes are imposed, so long as any revenue bonds secured by the taxes remain outstanding, unless payment of the bonds has been secured.


§7-20-33. Application to Commissioner of Highways for approval of road construction project plans.


The Commissioner of Highways, within 60 days after receipt of the county commission’s proposed road construction project plan, or an amendment to a previously approved project plan, including related infrastructure, if any, shall: (1) Approve the plan as submitted, in whole or in part; (2) reject the plan as submitted, in whole or in part; or (3) return the plan to the county commission for further development or review in accordance with instructions of the Commissioner of Highways. The decision of the commissioner is final and is not subject to judicial review.


§7-20-34. Contents of application.


(a) Each application submitted under §7-20-33 of this code shall include:

(1) A true copy of the county’s proposed road construction project plan, or proposed amendment to a project plan previously approved by the Commissioner of Highways, including related infrastructure, if any, that is adopted, after the public hearing, by resolution of the county commission.

(2) A true copy of the resolution adopted by the county commission approving submission of the adopted road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to a project plan previously approved by the Commissioner of Highways, including related infrastructure, if any, to the Commissioner of Highways for approval.

(3) A true copy of the notice of public hearing or hearings on the county’s proposed road construction plan, or proposed amendment to a previously adopted project plan, and a true copy of the proposed plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, if any, that was the subject of the public hearing.

(4) An affidavit signed by the president of the county commission confirming publication of the notice of public hearing.

(5) A true copy of the transcript of the public hearing or hearings, or a true copy of the digital recording of the public hearing or hearings, including true copies of any written comments received by the commission on the proposed road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, if any.

(6) A statement generally describing each project included in the county’s road construction project plan, or the proposed amendment to an existing project plan, including related infrastructure, if any, and identifying:

(A) Type of project, as:

(i) Road project;

(ii) Bridge project; or

(iii) Road and bridge project;

(B) Related infrastructure, if any;

(C) Location of the project;

(D) Length of the project, in miles or feet;

(E) Scope of the work;

(F) Classification of the project as:

(i) Preservation project;

(ii) Modernization project; or

(iii) Expansion project;

(G) Estimated cost of the project;

(H) Method of financing the project; and

(I) Timeline for completion of the project.

(7) A map of the county showing the geographic location of each road construction project included in the county’s road construction project plan, including related infrastructure, if any.

(8) A true copy of the resolution adopted by the governing body of the municipality consenting to the road construction project when the road construction project is located, in whole or in part, within the corporate limits of any municipality.

(9) Identification of any businesses or residents that the county commission anticipates will be displaced or leave because of the road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any.

(10) A good-faith estimate of the annual net property tax collections reallocated pursuant to §7-20-25 of this code and other revenues, if any, to be deposited in the county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account in the State Treasury that will be available to finance the project, in whole or in part.

(11) Any additional information the Commissioner of Highways may reasonably require to analyze a proposed road construction project.

(b) Review of applications. — The Commissioner of Highways shall review all proposed road construction project plans for conformance to statutory and regulatory requirements, the reasonableness of the project’s budget and timetable for completion using the following criteria:

(1) The quality of the proposed road construction project and how it addresses transportation problems in the area in which the road construction project will be located;

(2) Whether there is credible evidence that unless certain property tax revenues are used to finance the road construction project, in whole or in part, the project would not otherwise be feasible in the timeline proposed by the county commission;

(3) Whether the property tax revenues will leverage or be the catalyst for the effective use of state or federal funding that is available;

(4) Whether there is substantial and credible evidence that the proposed road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any, is likely to be started and completed in a timely fashion;

(5) Whether the proposed project will, directly or indirectly, improve transportation in the area where the road construction project will occur benefitting county residents and facilitating commercial business development and expansion in the county;

(6) Whether the proposed road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any, will directly or indirectly assist in the creation of additional long-term employment opportunities in the area and the quality of jobs created to include, but not be limited to, wages and benefits;

(7) Whether the proposed road construction project will fulfill a pressing transportation need for the county, or part of the county, in which the road construction project would be located;

(8) Whether the county commission has a strategy for road construction in the county and whether the proposed road construction project is consistent with that strategy;

(9) Whether the road construction project is consistent with the goals of this article; and

(10) Whether the road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any, is economically and fiscally sound using recognized business standards of finance and accounting.

(c) Additional criteria. — The Commissioner of Highways may establish by rule additional criteria for use when evaluating applications and approving or denying the application, in whole or in part.

(d) Certification of road construction project. — When the Commissioner of Highways approves a county’s road construction project application, in whole or in part, as provided in §7-20-33 of this code, the commissioner shall issue to the county commission a written certificate evidencing approval of each approved project, including related infrastructure, if any.

(e) Rules. — The Commissioner of Highways may propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code to implement the county road construction project application approval process and to further describe the criteria and procedures it has established in connection therewith. 


§7-20-35. Commissioner’s authority over road construction projects accepted into the state road system; use of state road funds.


(a) Notwithstanding anything in this article to the contrary, the Commissioner of Highways has final approval of any road construction project, including related infrastructure, if any.  However, no state road funds may be used, singly or together with funds from any other source, for any purpose or in any manner contrary to, or prohibited by, the Constitution and laws of this state or the federal government or where such use, in the sole discretion of the commissioner, would jeopardize receipt of federal funds.

(b) All road construction projects that are accepted as part of the state road system, and all real property interests and appurtenances, shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of the Commissioner of Highways, who may exercise the same rights and authority as he or she has over other transportation facilities in the state road system.

(c) Except as provided in an intergovernmental agreement executed by one or more county commissions and the Commissioner of Highways as provided in this article, a county commission is not required to pay for the cost of constructing, reconstructing, improving or maintaining a road that is part of the state road system as defined in §7-12A-1 et seq. of this code or to pay any other expense fairly related to that road.


§7-20-36. Qualifying a transportation project as a public improvement.


All road construction projects authorized under this article, including related infrastructure, if any, are public improvements subject to §21-1C-1 et seq. of this code, and either §5-22-1 et seq. or §17-2D-1 et seq. of this code.


§7-20-37. Reports by Commissioner of Highways.


Each year, the Commissioner of Highways shall prepare a report giving the status of each road construction project being constructed pursuant to this article and file it by October 1 with the Governor, the Joint Committee on Government and Finance and with each county commission with which the Commissioner of Highways has an intergovernmental agreement executed pursuant to this article. The report shall include the following information:

(1) The identification, by county, of each road construction project for which an intergovernmental agreement has been executed pursuant to this article, and the status of the road construction project as of June 30 preceding the due date of the report;

(2) The estimated cost of each road construction project included in the report;

(3) The source or sources of funding for each road construction project included in the report;

(4) The amount of the bonds issued that are outstanding as of June 30 preceding the due date of the report for each project included in the report if revenue bonds have been issued by the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority;

(5) The balance as of June 30 preceding the due date of the report of each county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account in the State Treasury;

(6) The amount of property tax collections deposited into each county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account in the State Treasury during the fiscal year ending June 30 preceding the due date of the commissioner’s report; and

(7) The amount the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority withdrew from each county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account in the State Treasury during the fiscal year ending June 30 preceding the due date of the report to pay debt service on revenue bonds issued pursuant to this article or to construction projects financed on a pay-as-you-go basis.


§7-20-38. Creation of County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account.


(a) Account created. — There is created in the State Treasury a special revenue revolving fund account known as the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account which is an interest-bearing account that shall be invested in the manner described in §12-6C-1 et seq. of this code, with the interest income a proper credit to the account.

(b) County subaccount. — A separate and segregated subaccount within the account shall be established for each county that allocates property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code.

(c) Additional funds. — In addition to the county property taxes collected and allocated as provided in §7-20-25 of this code, funds paid into the account for the credit of any subaccount may also be derived from the following sources:

(1) All interest or return on the investment accruing to the subaccount;

(2) Any gifts, grants, bequests, transfers, appropriations or donations which are received from any governmental entity or unit or any person, firm, foundation or corporation;

(3) Any other tax collections that may be deposited in the subaccount; and

(4) Any appropriations by the Legislature which are made for this purpose.

(d) Expenditures from account. — The Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority may withdraw funds from a county’s subaccount only in accordance with one or more intergovernmental agreements or contracts executed by the county commission of that county.


§7-20-39. Cash-basis projects; issuance of road construction special revenue bonds by Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority.


(a) Cash-basis projects. — Each county commission that has a subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account established pursuant to this article may, in its discretion and pursuant to an intergovernmental written agreement with the county commission, authorize the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to use the moneys in its subaccount to finance the costs of road construction projects, including related infrastructure and infrastructure improvement projects, if any, in the county on a cash basis.

(b) Special revenue bonds. — Additionally, the county commission may, by intergovernmental written agreement, authorize the West Virginia Economic Development Authority to issue, in the manner prescribed by this article, special revenue bonds secured by certain property tax collections reallocated pursuant to §7-20-25 of this code to finance or refinance all or part of a road construction project in the county, including related infrastructure and infrastructure improvement projects, if any, and pledge all or any part of the property tax collections reallocated pursuant to said section for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds and the reserves therefor.


§7-20-40. Issuance of county road construction special revenue bonds.


(a) Special revenue bonds may be issued by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority pursuant to an intergovernmental written agreement with the county commission or commissions and the Commissioner of Highways to finance or refinance, in whole or in part, road construction projects, including related infrastructure, if any, or county infrastructure projects in an aggregate principal amount not exceeding the amount which the county commission or commissions and the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Authority mutually agree can be paid as to both principal and interest and reasonable margins for a reserve, if any, therefor from county property tax collections reallocated as provided in §7-20-25 of this code. In the discretion of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, special revenue bonds issued pursuant to this article may be issued for road construction projects, including related infrastructure, if any, in two or more counties.

(b) The Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority shall thereafter transfer from the county’s subaccount all amounts necessary to pay debt service on the bonds.

(c) The special revenue bonds shall be authorized to be issued by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority pursuant to the provisions of this article, and shall be secured, shall bear such date and shall mature at such time, not exceeding thirty years from the date of issue except as otherwise provided in this article, shall bear interest at such rate or rates, including variable rates, be in such denominations, be in such form, carry such registration privileges, be payable in such medium of payment and at such place or places and such time or times and be subject to such terms of redemption as the West Virginia Economic Development Authority may authorize. Road construction special revenue bonds may be sold by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, at public or private sale, at, or not less than, the price the executive director determines. The special revenue bonds shall be executed by manual or facsimile signature by the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority. In case any Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority whose signature, or a facsimile of whose signature, appears on any bond ceases to be the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority before delivery of the bonds, such signature or facsimile is nevertheless sufficient for all purposes the same as if he or she had remained in office until such delivery.


§7-20-41. Trustee for bondholders; contents of trust agreement; pledge or assignment of revenues and funds.


For bonds issued pursuant to this article, in the discretion of the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, any bonds, including refunding bonds issued by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, may be secured by a trust agreement between the West Virginia Economic Development Authority and a corporate trustee, which trustee may be any bank or trust company within or without the state. Any such trust agreement may contain such binding covenants with the holders of such bonds as to any matter or provisions as are deemed necessary or advisable to the authority to enhance the marketability and security of such bonds and may also contain such other provisions with respect thereto as the authority may authorize and approve. Any trust agreement may contain a pledge or assignment of revenues to be received in connection with the financing.


§7-20-42. Refunding bonds.


Any bonds issued by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority pursuant to this article or any other provision of this code and at any time outstanding may at any time and from time to time be refunded by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority by the issuance of its refunding bonds in such amount as it may deem necessary to refund the principal of the bonds so to be refunded, together with any unpaid interest thereon, to provide additional funds for approved project costs and to pay any premiums and commissions necessary to be paid in connection therewith. Any such refunding may be effected by whether the bonds to be refunded have then matured or thereafter mature, either by sale of the refunding bonds and the application of the proceeds thereof for the redemption of the bonds to be refunded thereby or by exchange of the refunding bonds for the bonds to be refunded thereby. Refunding bonds shall be issued in conformance with the provisions of this article related to issuance of bonds.


§7-20-43. Obligations of West Virginia Economic Development Authority undertaken pursuant to this article not debt of state, county, municipality, or any political subdivision.


(a) Bonds, including refunding bonds, issued under the authority of this article and any other obligations undertaken by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority pursuant to this article, do not constitute a debt or a pledge of the faith and credit or taxing power of this state or of any county, municipality or any other political subdivision of this state. The holders and owners thereof have no right to have taxes levied by the Legislature or the taxing authority of any county, municipality or any other political subdivision of this state for the payment of the principal thereof or interest thereon. However, such bonds and other obligations are payable solely from the revenues and funds pledged for their payment as authorized by this article unless the bonds are refunded by refunding bonds issued pursuant to this article, which bonds or refunding bonds shall be payable solely from revenues and funds pledged for their payment as authorized by this article.

(b) All such bonds, and all documents evidencing any other obligation, shall contain on the face thereof a statement to the effect that the bonds or such other obligation as to both principal and interest are not debts of the state or any county, municipality or political subdivision thereof, but are payable solely from revenues and funds pledged for their payment as authorized by this article.


§7-20-44. Negotiability of bonds issued pursuant to this article.


Whether or not the bonds issued pursuant to this article are of such form or character as to be negotiable instruments under the Uniform Commercial Code, such bonds are negotiable instruments within the meaning of, and for all the purposes of, the Uniform Commercial Code, subject only to the provisions of the bonds for registration.


§7-20-45. Exemption from taxation.


All bonds issued by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority pursuant to §7-20-40 of this code, and all interest and income thereon, are exempt from all taxation by this state and any county, municipality, political subdivision or agency thereof, except inheritance taxes.


§7-20-46. Personal liability; persons executing bonds issued pursuant to this article.


Neither the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, nor any officer or employee of the authority, or the Department of Commerce, or any person executing the bonds issued pursuant to this article, are liable personally on such bonds or subject to any personal liability or accountability by reason of the issuance thereof.


§7-20-47. Cumulative authority as to powers conferred; applicability of other statutes and charters; bonds issued pursuant to this article.


The provisions of part II of this article relating to the issuance of bonds shall be construed as granting cumulative authority for the exercise of the various powers herein conferred, and neither the powers nor any bonds issued hereunder are affected or limited by any other provision of this code now or hereafter in force, other than as may be provided in this article, it being the purpose and intention of this article to create full, separate and complete additional powers. The various powers conferred herein may be exercised independently and notwithstanding that no bonds are issued hereunder.


§7-20-48. Cash-basis projects; termination of special allocation of property taxes; excess funds.


(a) Cash-basis projects. — When special revenue bonds have been issued as provided in this article and the amount of property tax collections allocated pursuant to §7-20-25 of this code, less costs of administration, collection and enforcement, exceeds the amount needed to pay project costs and annual debt service, including the funding of required debt service and maintenance reserves, if any, the additional amount remaining in the county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account shall be used to retire outstanding revenue bonds before their maturity date in accordance with the terms of such bonds.

(b) Termination of special allocation of property taxes. — Once the special revenue bonds issued as provided in this article are no longer outstanding or have been defeased, and no additional road construction projects and infrastructure improvement projects have been requested and approved by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, the reallocation of certain property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code shall end by order adopted by the county commission as provided in this article.

(c) Excess funds. — After all intergovernmental agreements with the West Virginia Economic Development Authority required by this article have ended and all debt service on special revenue bonds issued under this article to finance, in whole or in part, the road construction projects and infrastructure improvement projects have been paid or provided for, and reallocation of certain property tax collections as provided in §7-20-25 of this code has ended, the Executive Director of the West Virginia Economic Development Authority shall forward the unencumbered balance of moneys remaining in the county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account to the county commission of that county for deposit in the county’s general fund.


§7-20-49. Powers supplemental.


(a) County commissions. — The powers conferred by part II of this article are in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon county commissions by the Legislature elsewhere in this chapter.

(b) Commissioner of Highways. — The powers conferred by part II of this article on the Commissioner of Highways or the Division of Highways are in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the Commissioner of Highways, the Division of Highways, and the Department of Transportation by the Legislature elsewhere in this code.

(c) West Virginia Economic Development Authority. — The powers conferred by part II of this article are in addition and supplemental to the powers conferred upon the West Virginia Economic Development Authority by the Legislature elsewhere in this code.


§7-20-50. Public officials exempt from personal liability.


No member of a county commission or other county officer shall be personally liable on any contract or obligation executed pursuant to the authority contained in part II of this article.  Nor shall such contracts or obligations or the issuance of revenue bonds by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority secured by property tax collections allocated as provided in section §7-20-25 of this code be considered as misfeasance in office.


§7-20-51.  Severability.


If any section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase in part II of this article is for any reason held to be invalid, unlawful or unconstitutional, that decision does not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this article or any part thereof.


CHAPTER 31. CORPORATIONS.

ARTICLE 15. WEST VIRGINIA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY.

§31-15-16d. Bonds for county capital improvements; limitations; authority to issue revenue bonds; use of funds to pay for projects.


(a) The West Virginia Economic Development Authority may, in accordance with the provisions of this article and §7-20-1 et seq. of this code, issue special revenue bonds from time to time, to pay for a portion of the cost of constructing, equipping, improving or maintaining road and other capital improvement projects under §7-20-1 et seq. of this code or to refund the bonds, at the discretion of the authority. The principal amount of the bonds issued under this section may not exceed, in the aggregate, an amount that, in the opinion of the authority, is necessary to provide sufficient funds for achievement of the purposes of this section and §7-20-1 et seq. of this code, and is within the limits of moneys pledged for the repayment of the principal, interest and redemption premium, if any, on any revenue bonds or refunding bonds authorized by this section and §7-20-1 et seq. of this code. Any revenue bonds issued on or after the effective date of this section which are secured by ad valorem property taxes as provided in §7-20-25 of this code shall mature at a time or times not exceeding thirty years from their respective dates except as otherwise provided in §7-20-1 et seq. of this code. The principal of, and the interest and redemption premium, if any, on the bonds shall be payable solely from the county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account in the State Treasury established in §7-20-1 et seq. of this code.

(b) All amounts deposited in the fund shall be pledged to the repayment of the principal, interest and redemption premium, if any, on any revenue bonds or refunding revenue bonds authorized by this section. The authority may further provide in the trust agreement for priorities on the revenues paid into the county’s subaccount in the County Road and Infrastructure Improvement Account as may be necessary for the protection of the prior rights of the holders of bonds issued at different times under the provisions of this section or §7-20-1 et seq. of this code. The bonds issued pursuant to this section shall be separate from all other bonds which may be or have been issued from time to time under the provisions of this article or §7-20-1 et seq. of this code. The debt service fund established for each bond issue shall be pledged solely for the repayment of bonds issued pursuant to this section and §7-20-1 et seq. of this code. On or prior to May 1 of each year, commencing May 1, 2018, the authority shall certify to each county commission the principal and interest and coverage ratio requirements for the following fiscal year on any revenue bonds or refunding revenue bonds issued pursuant to this section, and for which moneys deposited in the debt service fund have been pledged, or will be pledged, for repayment pursuant to this section.

(c) After the authority has issued bonds authorized by this section, and after the requirements of all funds have been satisfied, including coverage and reserve funds established in connection with the bonds issued pursuant to this section, any balance remaining in the debt service fund may be used for the redemption of any of the outstanding bonds issued under this section which, by their terms, are then redeemable or for the purchase of the outstanding bonds at the market price, but not to exceed the price, if any, at which redeemable, and all bonds redeemed or purchased shall be immediately canceled and shall not again be issued. Any funds not used as provided in this subsection shall be returned to the county commission of the county for which the bonds were issued.

 

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to provide for the fair distribution of costs for county development by authorizing the assessment and collection of fees to offset the cost of development, including industrial development, within affected counties.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.

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