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Welcome to CCAWV

Our mission is to "maintain a statewide agency for the purpose of promoting the interest and general welfare of local county government through a variety of communication tools; to represent county government before the West Virginia Legislature, administrative agencies, and the federal government; to educate the public about the value and need for county programs and services; and to facilitate the exchange of problems, ideas and solutions among county officials."

Now a few updates...

SB 168 - County Officials Compensation Bill is still sitting in Senate Finance.  Calls to Chairman Prezioso, and Finance committee members are needed.  A fax sheet about the County Officials' Compensation Legislation, signed by the Presidents of all six individual Associations and the WVACo, is being distributed to the Senate and the House, with the hope that it provide factual information and will show our unity on this issue.

The House Version of the Compensation Increase Bill is HB 4405.  The bill is assigned to Political Subdivisions and then House Finance.  Calls are needed to Political Subdivision Chairman Tim Manchin and the committee members, in order to get this bill on the agenda.

HB 4406 - Allowing County Commissions to Set County Officials Salaries.  The purpose of this bill is to allow county commissions broad discretion in setting the salaries of all county elected officials.  The bill is assigned to the Political Subdivision Committee then Finance.

HB 4446 - Additional Oil & Gas Severance for Counties introduced - The purpose of this bill is to provide a source of funding for infrastructure projects in those counties that produce natural gas from the marcellus or utica shale formations. The bill sets a baseline of tax collections at $64.8 million from oil and gas. The bill provides that ten percent of those funds collected in excess of that baseline will continue to be for the benefit of counties and municipalities. The bill provides that the remaining ninety percent be deposited equally between the General Revenue Fund and the newly created Marcellus Development Account. The moneys from the Marcellus Development Account shall be distributed to counties based on their pro rata share of the gas produced from the marcellus or utica shale formations. The bill provides that funds from the Marcellus Development Account may only be used for infrastructure projects.

HB 4473 - Distribution of increase in Oil & Gas Severance Tax used as replacement tax.  This bill was introduced today by Lead Sponsor Tim Armstead and a host of other Republican Delegates.  It is assigned to House Finance.  This bill would use the increase in oil & gas severance taxes to replace property taxes to the county and other levying bodies, if and when a constitutional amendment is passed that approves eliminating the personal property tax on inventory and equipment held for commercial use and only in those counties that have had an increase of less than 25% in the total assessed value of all Class III & IV personal property held for commercial use in the previous year.

HB 4305 -  Temporary Appointments.  The purpose of this bill is to authorize the county commission to appoint a temporary successor for up to 30 days, if a vacancy occurs in offices of clerk of the county commission, clerk of the circuit court, prosecuting attorney, sheriff, assessor and surveyor.  The bill passed out of the House Political Subdivision Committee this week and now goes to House Judiciary.

HB 4107 - Training Requirements for VFDs.  Relating to volunteer firefighters; requiring the State Fire Commission to establish training, equipment and performance standards by legislative rule; and authorizing emergency rules. The bill has passed the House and is now on 1st reading on the Senate Floor.  I've talked with the VFD representatives and they tell me they are 100% on board with this bill, that it will help streamline training for volunteer firemen.
HB 422 - Pension Benefits for New Hires.   The purpose of this bill is to reduce certain benefits for new members hired on or after July 1, 2012 in PERS, TRS and State Police Plan B.  For new hires after July 1, 2012, Members in PERS will be funding 6% of payroll while state employers will be contributing a reduced 3.08%.

SB 469 - Relating generally to other post-employment benefits that directs funds, beginning around 2016, of $30 million into the Public Employees Trust Fund, passed the House today with minor ammendments.  Because of the amendments, the bill must now go back to the Senate for their approval. 
Public Hearing on SB 150   The House and Senate Pension Committees held a joint hearing on SB 150, a bill that would return a cap on the amount that the CPRB board can set the employer contribution rate.  I spoke at that hearing in favor of the legislation.  Below is an excerpt from my remarks.

"The County Commissioners’ Association of WV supports the provisions of SB 150, a bill that would return to code, a cap on employer contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System.  Several years ago this cap was removed and the process now lies exclusively with the Consolidated Public Retirement Board (CPRB) based on information and recommendation of the board actuary.   Returning the cap to statute would provide all participating employers, including the state and counties, with some level of a budgeting safety-net.  When and if a greater increase in the employer contribution is needed than this cap will allow, we believe the legislative process is where that debate should occur.....

I leave you with a successful example of how this process can work.  The statute governing the Deputy Sheriffs’ Retirement System (also under the oversight of the CPRB board) has language that caps the employer contributions to the program.  Over the last several years, legislation has been introduced to remove that cap, and my members have opposed those efforts.  Last year when the bill came to the House Pensions Committee for consideration, at the invitation of Chairman Pethel, my Association sat down with the Chairman and his legal counsel and staff from the CPRB board to discuss the issue of “removing the cap.”

During those conversations, actuarial data was shared that verified the need to increase the employer contribution.  After research, discussion and debate, we all agreed on a compromise, of leaving the cap in Statue, but raising the cap by the needed 2% to keep the system actuarial sound.  My members still have a level of comfort with a budgeting safety-net for the Deputy’s Retirement System and the System is still adequately funded.

Putting a cap back in place for the PERS system, gives Legislators and County Governments the assurance of time to gather and receive information, participate in discussion and debate, and it affords the opportunity for fiscal oversight and accountability of tax dollars on behalf of the citizens we serve."

Senate Pensions Chairman Foster, asked questions about the Deputy Sheriffs' System and the compromise from last year and how it had worked out.  He then asked the Director of the CPRB Jeff Fleck, if the staff could get back with the Pensions Committee on whether or not some compromise like the example or perhaps a sliding cap of no more than 2% in any year, could work.  We'll stay tuned to any results.  Calls of support to the Senate and House Pensions Committee Members would be helpful.


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