<a href="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2014\/04\/P1000307.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-medium wp-image-4886" alt="P1000307" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2014\/04\/P1000307-300x225.jpg" width="300" height="225" \/><\/a>\r\n\r\n<b>By Peggy Mackenzie<\/b>\r\n\r\nAt the first of three planned hearings held Thursday, May 1, the City of Lewisburg is seeking inclusion in the phase II application process of the Municipal Home Rule Pilot Program open to 16 additional West Virginia cities as a municipal option of governance. Phase I is already in place in four cities around the state - Charleston, Huntington, Bridgeport and Wheeling. The second public hearing was on Monday, May 5. The third and final reading and public hearing will be held on May 20 at 7 p.m. just prior to the regular monthly council meeting at 7:30 p.m.\r\n\r\nThe goal for the City of Lewisburg is to \u201cincrease the efficiency of government,\u201d stated Mayor John Manchester. Toward that aim, Lewisburg\u2019s application focuses on six areas where changes in the requirements and regulations will allow a small municipality like Lewisburg with more efficiency and thereby save taxpayers money. Those changes are:\r\n\r\n1) Authorizes the use of proceeds from hotel occupancy tax to fund Public Libraries.\r\n\r\n2) Permits building and zoning administrators and \/or City law enforcement officers to issue \u201con the spot\u201d citations for external sanitation violations.\r\n\r\n3) To eliminate the first early voting day prior to a municipal election and to reduce the number of poll workers required to work on the receiving board on the day of the election.\r\n\r\n4) Authorize the City to collect hotel occupancy tax on consumers who occupy a hotel for thirty or more consecutive days.\r\n\r\n5) To allow the City to reduce the number of notifications that are required to be made to customers prior to terminating utility service and to modify the required methods in which notification to the customer regarding termination is made.\r\n\r\n6) Authorize the sale of municipal surplus property without being required to advertise surplus property as a Class II legal advertisement or be sold at a public auction using an auctioneer.\r\n\r\nSteve Malcomb, the only audience member at the meeting other than three reporters, was acting as a representative for several people with concerns over what the impact of the changes in city ordinances might be. He asked, \u201cHow will these changes benefit the homeowners, business leaders and rental owners of Lewisburg?\u201d\r\n\r\nManchester\u2019s response was, \u201cThe purpose for Home Rule is to increase efficiency of government.\u201d He went on to say that Home Rule allows smaller municipalities to custom fit regulations so they are more suitable to a specific community. Legislation from the state is usually passed down as \u201cone size fits all.\u201d In this way Lewisburg is asking for a variance to the regulations in the above listed six areas.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s more about having more say in how we govern ourselves,\u201d added Council member Joseph Lutz.\r\n\r\nMalcomb agreed it was good to keep public officials on their toes, even though he said he couldn\u2019t see how this is going to help the regular taxpaying residents of Lewisburg.\u201d\r\n\r\nPublic input is valued and needed concurred the mayor, and the public is invited to come to the May 20 City Council meeting at 7 p.m.\r\n\r\nLewisburg\u2019s Home Rule application is available to the public at City Hall, the Greenbrier County Library and on the Lewisburg City website (lewisburg-wv.com).