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Chapter 5 B     Entire Code

CHAPTER 5B. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 1985.

ARTICLE 2. WEST VIRGINIA DEVELOPMENT OFFICE.

§5B-2-1. West Virginia Development Office; confidentiality.

The Governor's office of community and industrial development is hereby continued but is hereafter designated and shall be known as the West Virginia Development Office. All references in this code to the office of community and industrial development or the Governor's office of community and industrial development shall be construed as references to the West Virginia Development Office.

Any documentary material, data or other writing made or received by the West Virginia Development Office or other public body, whose primary responsibility is economic development, for the purpose of furnishing assistance to a new or existing business shall be exempt from the provisions of article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code: Provided, That any agreement entered into or signed by the Development Office or public body which obligates public funds shall be subject to inspection and copying pursuant to the provisions of said article as of the date the agreement is entered into, signed or otherwise made public.

§5B-2-2. Appointment and compensation of the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office.

(a) The Governor shall appoint the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office who is qualified for the position by reason of his or her extensive education and experience in the field of professional economic development. The executive director serves at the will and pleasure of the Governor. The executive director shall have overall management responsibility and administrative control and supervision within the West Virginia Development Office. It is the intention of the Legislature that the executive director provide professional and technical expertise in the field of professional economic and tourism development. Subject to the provisions of the contract provided in section four of this article, the executive director may hire and fire economic development representatives employed pursuant to the provisions of section five of this article.

(b) The Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office may promulgate rules to carry out the purposes and programs of the West Virginia Development Office to include generally the programs available and the procedure and eligibility of applications relating to assistance under the programs. These rules are not subject to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, but shall be filed with the Secretary of State. The executive director may adopt any of the rules previously promulgated by the council for community and economic development.

§5B-2-3. Powers and duties of the executive director.

The executive director shall enhance economic growth and development through the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy for West Virginia. "Comprehensive economic development strategy" means a plan that outlines strategies and activities designed to continue, diversify or expand the economic base of the state as a whole; create jobs; develop a highly skilled workforce; facilitate business access to capital, including venture capital; advertise and market the resources offered by the state with respect to the needs of business and industry; facilitate cooperation among local, regional and private economic development enterprises; improve infrastructure on a state, regional and community level; improve the business climate generally; and leverage funding from sources other than the state, including federal and private sources.

§5B-2-3a.

Repealed.

Acts, 2015 Reg. Sess., Ch. 40.

§5B-2-3b. Development office promotion fund.

There is hereby established in the state Treasury a special revenue fund known as the "Development Office promotion fund." Moneys deposited in this fund shall be administered by the Development Office and used solely to promote business formation, expansion, recruitment and retention through aggressive marketing and international development and export assistance, which together lead to more and better jobs with higher wages for all geographic regions and communities of the state, including rural areas and urban core areas, and for all residents, including minorities.

§5B-2-4. Public-private partnerships.

The West Virginia Development Office is authorized to enter into contractual or joint venture agreements with a nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to the corporate laws of the state, organized to permit qualification pursuant to section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and for purposes of the economic development of West Virginia, and funded from sources other than the state. The contract shall include provisions relating to the employment of economic development representatives assigned to the West Virginia Development Office to be paid a base salary by the state and performance-based economic incentives from private funds of the nonprofit corporation. Provisions relating to hiring practices with respect to economic development representatives, job descriptions, accountability, public-private liaison and performance standards may be the subject of contract negotiations. The contract shall include provision for continuing education and certification in the field of economic or industrial development for persons employed as economic development representatives. Agreements providing for the payment of performance-based incentives to the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office are authorized. Agreements providing for the payment of travel and expenses to the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office or to economic development representatives from private funds by the nonprofit corporation are authorized. The prohibitions of subdivisions (b) and (d), section five, article two, chapter six-b of this code are not applicable to the receipt by economic development representatives or by the executive director of performance-based incentives and other payments made by the nonprofit corporation and specifically authorized pursuant to this section.

From time to time the executive director may enter into joint ventures wherein the West Virginia Development Office and the nonprofit corporation share in the development and funding of economic development programs.

All contracts and joint venture agreements must be approved by the executive director. Contracts entered into pursuant to this section for longer than one fiscal year shall contain, in substance, a provision that the contract shall be considered cancelled without further obligation on the part of the state if the State Legislature or, where appropriate, the federal government, shall fail to appropriate sufficient funds therefor or shall act to impair the contract or cause it to be cancelled.

§5B-2-4a. State allocation to regional councils.

The West Virginia Development Office may enter into contractual agreements with the regional councils formed under the provisions of section five, article twenty-five, chapter eight of this code to provide funding to the regional councils to be used to obtain federal matching grants and for other purposes determined to be appropriate by the Development Office. The maximum state allocation to each eligible regional council shall be $40,000: Provided, That the amount of the allocation shall be determined by dividing the number of eligible regional councils into the total amount of funds made available for allocation by the Legislature. The West Virginia Development Office shall develop criteria to determine a regional council's eligibility for the state allocation.

§5B-2-5.  Economic development representatives.

(a) The executive director may employ economic development representatives to be paid a base salary within legislative appropriations to the West Virginia Development Office, subject to applicable contract provisions pursuant to section four of this article.  Economic development representatives may receive performance-based incentives and expenses paid from private funds from a nonprofit corporation contracting with the West Virginia Development Office pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article.  The executive director shall establish job descriptions and responsibilities of economic development representatives, subject to the provisions of any contract with a nonprofit corporation entered into pursuant to section four of this article.

(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, economic development representatives employed within the West Virginia Development Office are not subject to the procedures and protections provided by articles six and six-a, chapter twenty-nine of this code.  Any employee of the West Virginia Development Office on the effective date of this article who applies for employment as an economic development representative is not entitled to the protections of article six, chapter twenty-nine with respect to hiring procedures and qualifications; and upon accepting employment as an economic development representative, the employee relinquishes the protections provided for in article two, chapter six-c and article six, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

(c) On the last Monday in January, in years 2017, 2019 and 2021, the executive director shall submit to the Legislature a written report.  The executive director shall provide copies of his or her report to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Delegates, the chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development and the chair of the House Committee on Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.  The executive director’s report shall do the following:

(1) Identify and describe loans, grants or other funding sources that economic development representatives have assisted small businesses acquire during the immediately preceding reporting cycle;

(2) Identify and describe generally inquiries, requests for assistance or other matters that other state or federal agencies have presented to the West Virginia Development Office in the immediately preceding reporting cycle in connection with those agencies’ efforts to regulate or assist small businesses;

(3) Identify and describe issues with formation, registration and licensure requirements that state law imposes on small businesses that small businesses have identified to the West Virginia Development Office in the immediately preceding reporting cycle as burdensome;

(4) Identify specific forms, processes or requirements imposed by state law that small businesses have identified to the West Virginia Development Office in the immediately preceding reporting cycle that may be streamlined, simplified, combined or eliminated in order to reduce unnecessary costs, delays or other burdens on small businesses;

(5) Propose and describe concrete and specific steps that any branch, agency or level of state government may take to streamline, simplify, combine or eliminate the forms, processes or requirements identified in subdivision (4) of this subsection; and

(6) Provide the following information:

(A) The number of small businesses counseled by the West Virginia Development Office during the immediately preceding reporting cycle;

(B) The number of new businesses created while being counseled by the West Virginia Development Office during the immediately preceding reporting cycle;

(C) The number of jobs created by businesses counseled by the West Virginia Development Office during the immediately preceding reporting cycle; and

(D) Any other information that, in the opinion of the executive director, demonstrates the performance of the West Virginia Development Office or economic development representatives during the immediately preceding reporting cycle.

§5B-2-6. Transition; savings provision.

All programs, orders, determinations, rules, permits, grants, contracts, certificates, bonds, authorizations and privileges which have been issued, made, granted or allowed to become effective pursuant to any prior enactments of this article or by the Governor, the Governor's Office of Community and Industrial Development or its director, or by a court of competent jurisdiction, and which are in effect on February 1, 1992, shall continue in effect according to their terms until modified, terminated, superseded, set aside or revoked by the Governor or the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office pursuant to this article, by a court of competent jurisdiction or by operation of law.

§5B-2-6a. Brownfield economic development districts; applications; fees; rules.

(a) Any property owner of a tract of land that is a brownfield or voluntary remediated site pursuant to article twenty-two, chapter twenty-two of this code may, if the site and surrounding area were involved in the extraction and processing of coal, limestone or other natural resources, apply to the Development Office to become a brownfield economic development district.

(1) Applicants for a brownfield economic development district must demonstrate that the district when designated will create significant economic development activity;

(2) Applicants shall submit a development plan that provides specific details on proposed financial investment, direct and indirect jobs to be created and the viability of the district;

(3) Brownfield economic development districts:

(A) May not contain single-family housing;

(B) Shall provide all the infrastructure within the district without cost to the state, county, public service district or local municipal government;

(4) Applicants shall demonstrate that were it not for this designation, the contemplated development would not be possible and that the development is in the best interest of the state;

(5) The applicant shall own or control the property within the district;

(6) All costs for the application process shall be borne by the applicant;

(7) An applicant shall demonstrate that the applicant has attempted to work in good faith with local officials in regard to land-use issues;

(8) Beginning July 1, 2011, an application for a brownfield economic development district may not be approved unless the district conforms to a county's or municipality's planning and zoning laws established pursuant to the provisions of article seven, eight and nine, of chapter eight-a of this code.

(9) Prior to granting a designation of brownfield economic development district, the applicant shall provide documentation that the applicant has met all the requirements set forth in article twenty-two, chapter twenty-two of this code to be designated as a brownfield site or voluntary remediated site and is in compliance with the remediation plan;

(10) Nothing may be construed by this section to exempt brownfield economic districts from environmental regulation that would pertain to the development;

(11) The decision of the development office in regard to an application is final; and

(12) Once designated, the district shall work in conjunction with the regional brownfield assistance centers of Marshall University and West Virginia University as specified in section seven, article eleven, chapter eighteen-b of this code.(b) The development office shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement this section and the rules shall include, but not be limited to, the application and time line process, notice provisions, additional application consideration criteria and application fees sufficient to cover the costs of the consideration of an application. The development office shall promulgate emergency rules pursuant to the provisions of section fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code by October 1, 2008, to facilitate the initial implementation of this section.

§5B-2-6b.

Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

§5B-2-6c.

Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

§5B-2-6d.

Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

§5B-2-6e.

Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

§5B-2-7.

Repealed.

Acts, 2015 Reg. Sess., Ch. 40.

§5B-2-8

Repealed

Acts, 2017 Reg. Sess., Ch. 238.

§5B-2-8a

Repealed

Acts, 2017 Reg. Sess., Ch. 238.

§5B-2-9

Repealed

Acts, 2017 Reg. Sess., Ch. 238.

§5B-2-9a.  Powers and duties of Commissioner of the Division of Tourism and Tourism Commission for improving Cardinal Passenger Train Service; declaration of public policy and Legislative intent.

(a) It is hereby declared the public policy of the State of West Virginia and the intent of the Legislature to facilitate, advance and improve the availability of interstate passenger rail service to the state, the contributions of such service to local tourism development including the Boy Scouts of America Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County, the marketing of such services for both interstate rail travel for the benefit of the state’s citizens, businesses and local tourism and to improve the quality and frequency of such service, including the provision of a daily passenger train service at the earliest opportunity, of the Cardinal Passenger Train operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as AMTRAK, on railroad lines crossing the south-central region of the state from Huntington eastward to White Sulphur Springs, being that same route historically and continuously used by the passenger train and its predecessors since the year 1871.  

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, the Commissioner of the Division of Tourism, with the advice of the tourism commission, and under the supervision of the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, is authorized and directed to coordinate and supervise the activities of the state, to coordinate and cooperate with the political subdivisions and municipalities of the state, to cooperate with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation and with the other states served by the Cardinal Passenger Train to achieve the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The commissioner is authorized to conduct such studies, and make such investigations, as may be reasonable and appropriate to advance the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The commissioner is hereby authorized to enter into contracts and memoranda of understanding with the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, with the other states served by the Cardinal Passenger Train, and with the political subdivisions and municipalities of this state, to achieve the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section. The commissioner is further authorized to cooperate with the aforesaid other states and National Railroad Passenger Corporation in the formation of an interstate committee for the purpose of achieving the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section, to participate in said committee and appoint other designees thereto.

(d)  In the exercise of their powers and duties under this section, the commissioner and tourism commission shall consult with the West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia State Rail Authority.  The West Virginia Department of Transportation and the West Virginia State Rail Authority shall cooperate with the commissioner and the tourism commission, and shall provide the commissioner and tourism commission with such reasonable and necessary assistance as may be possible based on available staff and funds to achieve the public policy set forth in subsection (a) of this section.

(e) There is hereby created a special revenue account, designated the “Cardinal Passenger Train Enhancement Fund” into which all moneys intended to advance the purposes of this section shall be deposited.  Moneys in this account shall be expended solely for the public policy and purposes set forth in this section.  Funds paid into this account may also be derived from the following sources: (1) All interest or return on investment accruing to this account; (2) any gifts, grants, bequests, transfers, appropriations or other donations which may be received from any governmental entity or unit or any person, firm, foundation, or corporation; and (3) any appropriations by the Legislature which may be made for the purposes of this section.  Any balance including accrued interest and other earnings at the end of any fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the fund for the purposes set forth in this section.  The moneys in the fund shall be paid out, at the sole discretion and direction of the commissioner, to advance the purposes of this section.

§5B-2-10. Program and policy action statement; submission to joint committee on government and finance.

The tourism commission, the West Virginia Development Office and any other authorities, boards, commissions, corporations or other entities created or amended under this chapter and article eleven, chapter eighteen-b of this code, shall prepare and submit to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on or before December 1, 1995, and each year thereafter, a program and policy action statement which shall outline in specific detail according to the purpose, powers and duties of the office or section, its procedure, plan and program to be used in accomplishing its goals and duties as required under this article.

§5B-2-11

Repealed

Acts, 2017 Reg. Sess., Ch. 238.

§5B-2-12

Repealed

Acts, 2017 Reg. Sess., Ch. 238.

§5B-2-12a

Repealed

Acts, 2017 Reg. Sess., Ch. 238.

§5B-2-13.

Repealed.

Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32.

§5B-2-14. Certified development community program.

The certified development community program is continued and is transferred to, incorporated in and administered as a program of the West Virginia Development Office. The program shall provide funding assistance to the participating economic development corporations or authorities through a matching grant program. The West Virginia Development Office shall establish criteria for awarding matching grants to the corporations or authorities within the limits of funds appropriated by the Legislature for the program. The matching grants to eligible corporations or authorities are in the amount of $30,000 for each fiscal year, if sufficient funds are appropriated by the Legislature. The West Virginia Development Office shall recognize existing county, regional or multicounty corporations or authorities where appropriate.

In developing its plan, the West Virginia Development Office shall consider resources and technical support available through other agencies, both public and private, including, but not limited to, the state college and university systems; the West Virginia Housing Development Fund; the West Virginia Economic Development Authority; the West Virginia Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority; the West Virginia Round Table; the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Regional Planning and Development Councils; Regional Partnership for Progress Councils; and state appropriations.

§5B-2-15. Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program.

(a) Definitions. —

(1) General. — Terms defined in this section have the meanings ascribed to them by this section, unless a different meaning is clearly required by either the context in which the term is used, or by specific definition in this section.

(2) Terms Defined. —

(A) “Contributing partners” means those entities or their representatives described in subsection (f) of this section.

(B) “Program” means the Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program established in this section.

(C) “Revitalization council” means those entities or their representatives described in subsection (d) of this section.

(D) “Technical assistance” means resources provided by the state, revitalization council, contributing partners or any other individuals or entities providing programming, funding or other support to benefit the Upper Kanawha Valley under the program.

(E) “Upper Kanawha Valley” means an area defined by the Development Office that encompasses the areas from Gauley Bridge to Pratt, including the municipalities of Montgomery, Smithers, Pratt and Gauley Bridge or other communities in the vicinity of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

(F) “Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program” means the entire process undertaken to further the goals of this section, including collaboration development and implementation between the members, contributors and technical assistance resource providers.

(b) Legislative purpose, findings and intent. —

(1) The decision to relocate the historic campus of the West Virginia University Institute of Technology from Montgomery, West Virginia to Beckley, West Virginia will have a dramatic economic impact on the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(2) The purpose of this section is to establish the Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program. To further this purpose, this program creates a collaboration among state government, higher education and private and nonprofit sectors to streamline technical assistance capacity, existing services and other resources to facilitate community revitalization in the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(3) It is the intent of the Legislature to identify existing state resources that can be prioritized to support the Upper Kanawha Valley, generate thoughtful and responsible ideas to mitigate the negative effects of the departure of the West Virginia Institute of Technology from the Upper Kanawha Valley and help chart a new course and prosperous future for the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(c) Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program established; duration of program. —

(1) The Development Office shall establish the Upper Kanawha Valley Resiliency and Revitalization Program in accordance with the provisions of this section, subject to the availability of funding necessary to support the program. The program shall inventory existing assets and resources, prioritize planning and technical assistance, and determine such other assistance as might be available to revitalize communities in the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(2) The program shall be established for an initial period of five years from the effective date of this legislation.

(d) Revitalization council created. — There is hereby created a revitalization council to fulfill the purposes of this section. The revitalization council shall be coordinated by the Development Office in the Department of Commerce and be subject to oversight by the secretary of the department. The following entities shall serve as members of the revitalization council:

(1) The Executive Director of the Development Office or their designee, who shall serve as chairperson of the council;

(2) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Resources or their designee;

(3) The Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture or their designee;

(4) The Executive Director of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund or their designee;

(5) A representative from the Kanawha County commission;

(6) A representative from the Fayette County commission;

(7) The mayor, or their designee, from the municipalities of Montgomery, Smithers, Pratt and Gauley Bridge;

(8) A representative from Bridge Valley Community and Technical College; and

(9) A representative from West Virginia University.

(e) Duties of the revitalization council. —

(1) The council shall identify existing state resources that can be prioritized to support economic development efforts in the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(2) The council shall direct existing resources in a unified effort and in conjunction with contributing partners, as applicable, to support the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(3) The council shall develop a rapid response strategy to attract or develop new enterprises and job creating opportunities in the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(4) The council shall conduct or commission a comprehensive assessment of assets available at the campus of the West Virginia Institute of Technology and determine how those assets will be preserved and repurposed.

(5) The council shall assist communities in the Upper Kanawha Valley by developing an economic plan to diversify and advance the community.

(6) Members of the council shall support both the planning and implementation for the program and shall give priority wherever possible to programmatic activity and discretionary, noncompetitive funding during the period the program remains in effect.

(7) Members of the council shall work together to leverage funding or other agency resources to benefit efforts to revitalize the Upper Kanawha Valley.

(f) Contributing partners. — To the extent possible, the revitalization council shall incorporate the resources and expertise of additional providers of technical assistance to support the program, which shall include but not be limited to:

(1) The West Virginia Small Business Development Center;

(2) The Center for Rural Health Development;

(3) The West Virginia University Brickstreet Center for Entrepreneurship;

(4) The West Virginia University Land Use and Sustainability Law Clinic;

(5) The West Virginia University Center for Big Ideas;

(6) The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority;

(7) The Rahall Transportation Institute;

(8) The Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research;

(9) TechConnect;

(10) The West Virginia Community Development Hub;

(11) The West Virginia University Northern Brownfields Assistance Center;

(12) West Virginia State University Extension Service; and

(13) West Virginia University Extension Service, Community, Economic and Workforce Development.

(g) Reporting and agency accountability. — The revitalization council, in coordination with its contributing partners, as applicable, shall report annually to the Governor and the Legislature detailing the progress of the technical assistance support provided by the program, the strategic plan for the Upper Kanawha Valley and the results of these efforts.

(h) Economic Incentives for businesses investing in the Upper Kanawha Valley. — The Development Office and the revitalization council, as applicable, will work to educate businesses investing, or interested in investing, in the Upper Kanawha Valley, about the availability of, and access to, economic development assistance, including but not limited to, the economic opportunity tax credit provided in section nineteen, article thirteen-q, chapter eleven of this code; the manufacturing investment tax credit provided under article thirteen-s, chapter eleven of this code; and any other applicable tax credit or development assistance.

(i) Use of state property and equipment; faculty. — The Development Office or other owner of state property and equipment in the Upper Kanawha Valley is authorized to provide for the low cost and economical use and sharing of state property and equipment, including computers, research labs and other scientific and necessary equipment to assist any business within the Upper Kanawha Valley at a nominal or reduced-cost reimbursements to the state for such use.

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