(a) In order to finance the extra costs associated with the valuation and training mandated by this article, there is hereby created a revolving valuation fund in each county which shall be used exclusively to fund the assessor's office. No persons whose salary is payable from the valuation fund shall be hired under this section without the approval of the valuation commission, the hirings shall be without regard to political favor or affiliation, and the persons hired under this section are subject to the provisions of the ethics act in chapter six-b of this code, including, but not limited to, the conflict of interest provisions under chapter six-b of this code. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this code to the contrary, assessors may employ citizens of any West Virginia county for the purpose of performing, assessing and appraising duties under this chapter upon approval of the employment by the valuation commission.
(b) During the fiscal year commencing July 1, 1994, and thereafter as necessary, any county receiving moneys provided by the valuation commission under this section shall use the county's valuation fund receipts which exceed the total amount received in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1994, and such other portion of the county's valuation fund receipts that may be required by the valuation commission, to repay the valuation commission the money received plus accrued interest: Provided, That the fund should not drop below one percent of the total municipal, county commission and county school board revenues generated by application of the respective regular levy rates.
(c) (1) To finance the ongoing extra costs associated with the valuation and training mandated by this article, beginning with the fiscal year commencing on July 1,1991, and for a period of at least three consecutive years, an amount equal to two percent of the previous year's projected tax collections, or whatever percent is approved by the valuation commission, from the regular levy set by, or for, the county commission, the county school board and any municipality in the county shall be prorated as to each levying body, set aside and placed in the valuation fund. In May of each year the sheriff of each county shall make a final transfer to the assessor's valuation fund which will reflect any difference in the amount of actual collections in the previous fiscal year as opposed to those previously projected by the chief inspector's office as the basis for the contributions to the valuation fund, to bring the total transfers for that year to two percent of the previous year's actual collections. The two-percent payment shall continue in any county where funds borrowed from the state pursuant to subsection (a) of this section have not been fully repaid until such moneys, together with accrued interest thereon, have been fully repaid or until July 1, 1999, whichever comes last. Each year thereafter, for counties with loans, and each fiscal year after June 30, 1999, for those counties without loans, the valuation fund shall be continued at an annual amount not to exceed two percent, as determined by the valuation commission, of the previous year's projected tax collections from such regular levies: Provided, That on and after July 1, 1999, a valuation fund of a county with a loan shall be continued at an annual amount not to exceed three percent, as determined by the valuation commission, and any amounts received in excess of two percent of the collections shall be expended solely to repay the loan and for no other purpose. No provision of this subdivision shall be construed to abrogate any requirement imposed under subsection (b) of this section.
(2) For the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 1999, and any fiscal year thereafter, the assessors, in order to receive any percent of the previous year's projected tax collections for their valuation funds, must submit a request to the valuation commission no later than December 15, 1994, and by the same date in December each year thereafter. The submission shall include a projected expenditure budget, including any balances expected to be carried forward, with justification for the percent requested for their valuation fund for the ensuing fiscal year. A copy of the projected budget and justifications shall also be sent to the assessor's county commission, municipalities and school board. The valuation commission shall meet after January 15, but prior to February 1 each year beginning in the year 1995, and has authority to accept and confirm up to two percent as a justifiable amount for counties without loans, and to accept and confirm up to three percent for counties with loans, subject to the requirement of subdivision (1) of this subsection that any amounts received in excess of two percent of the collections shall be expended solely to repay the loan and for no other purpose. The valuation commission may establish whatever lower percent of the previous year's projected tax collections each assessor shall receive based upon the evidence at hand, and the particular reevaluation needs of the county. Absent a proper application by any assessor, the valuation commission may, after consultation with the Tax Commissioner's office, set whatever allowable percent it considers proper. Following its decisions, the valuation commission shall certify to the chief inspector's office of the Department of Tax and Revenue and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance, the percent approved for each assessor's valuation fund, and the chief inspector's office shall notify each affected sheriff and levying body of the moneys due from their levies to their respective valuation funds. County commissions, boards of education and municipalities may present written evidence, prior to January 15, 1995, and by the same date of each year thereafter, acceptable to the valuation commission showing that a lesser amount than that requested by the assessor would be adequate to fund the extra costs associated with the valuation mandated by section seven of this article: Provided, That the county commissions, in addition, shall fund the county assessor's office at least the level of funding provided during the fiscal year in which this section was initially enacted.
These additional funds are intended to enable assessors to maintain current valuations and to perform the periodic reevaluation required under section nine of this article.
(d) Moneys due the valuation fund shall be deposited by the sheriff of the county on a monthly basis as directed by the chief inspector's office for the benefit of the assessor and shall be available to and may be spent by the assessor without prior approval of the county commission, which may not exercise any control over the fund. Clerical functions related to the fund shall be performed in the same manner as done with other normal funding provided to the assessor.