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§16-15-3. City and county housing authorities created; when to transact business or exercise powers; determination of need for housing authority; resolution of governing body proof of establishment; appointment, term, expenses and removal of commissioners.

(a) In each city and in each county there is hereby created a housing authority which shall be a public body corporate and politic. No authority hereby created shall transact any business or exercise its powers hereunder until or unless the governing body of the city or the county, by proper resolution, determines that there is need for an authority: Provided, That nothing contained herein shall be construed as creating an additional housing authority in a city where a housing authority has been created pursuant to prior law, but each housing authority shall continue as a public body corporate and politic and shall have the area of operation defined in section one of this article for a city or county housing authority. Each housing authority created pursuant to this section shall adopt a name for all legal and operating purposes.

(b) The determination as to whether or not there is a need for an authority: (1) May be made by the governing body on its own motion; or (2) shall be made by the governing body upon the filing of a petition signed by twenty-five residents of the city or county asserting that there is need for an authority to function in the city or county and requesting that the governing body so declare. The governing body shall adopt a resolution declaring that there is need for a housing authority in the city or county if it finds: (1) That unsanitary or unsafe inhabited dwellings exist in the city or county; or (2) that there is a shortage of safe or sanitary dwellings in the city or county available to persons of low or moderate income at rental rates or purchase prices they can afford. In determining whether dwellings are unsafe or unsanitary the governing body may take into consideration the degree of overcrowding, the percentage of land coverage, the light, air, space and access available to the inhabitants of the dwellings, the size and arrangement of the rooms, the sanitary facilities, and the extent to which conditions exist in the dwellings which endanger life or property by fire or other cause.

(c) In any suit, action or proceeding involving the validity or enforcement of or relating to any contract of the authority, the authority shall be conclusively deemed to have become established and authorized to transact business and exercise its powers hereunder upon proof of the adoption of a resolution by the governing body declaring the need for the authority. An adopted resolution shall be deemed sufficient if it declares that there is need for an authority and finds in substantially the foregoing terms (no further detail being necessary) that either or both of the above-enumerated conditions exist. A copy of a resolution duly certified by the clerk shall be admissible in evidence in any suit, action or proceeding.

(d) When the governing body of a city adopts a resolution as aforesaid, it shall promptly notify the mayor of the adoption. Upon receiving the notice, the mayor shall appoint five persons as commissioners of the authority created for the city. When the governing body of a county adopts a resolution as aforesaid, it shall appoint five persons as commissioners of the authority created for the county. The commissioners who are first appointed shall be designated to serve for terms of one, two, three, four and five years, respectively, from the date of their appointment. Thereafter commissioners shall be appointed for a term of office of five years, except that all vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired term. No commissioner of an authority may be an officer or employee of the city or county for which the authority is created. A commissioner shall hold office until his or her successor has been appointed and has qualified, unless sooner removed according to this article. A certificate of the appointment or reappointment of any commissioner shall be filed with the clerk and shall be conclusive evidence of the due and proper appointment of a commissioner. A commissioner shall receive no compensation for his or her services, but he or she shall be entitled to the necessary expenses, including traveling expenses, incurred in the discharge of his or her duties.

(e) For inefficiency or neglect of duty or misconduct in office, a commissioner of an authority may be removed by the mayor or by the county commission. A commissioner shall be removed only after being given a copy of the charges and notice of a hearing. The charges shall be sent to the commissioner at least ten days prior to the hearing and shall notify the commissioner that he or she has an opportunity to be heard in person or by counsel. In the event of the removal of any commissioner, a record of the proceedings, together with the charges and findings thereon, shall be filed in the office of the clerk. The powers of each authority shall be vested in its commissioners.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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