Virginia’s Senators and Delegates have agreed to save the Town of Pound located in Wise County.
During last year’s General Assembly, a bill passed and was signed into law that would have revoked the town’s charter on November 1, 2023, effectively dissolving the locality later this year.
The town’s affairs were a mess at that time. Business owners in the former coal town stopped paying taxes. Every town employee quit or was fired, and the police department was disbanded, Senator Todd Pillion explained to fellow senators as he presented SB 1537, which proposed reversing course on the decision to yank the town’s charter.
He said in January, Pound announced it paid off the town’s debts and elected new council members and a mayor. They’re coordinating with the Virginia Municipal League (VML) to work on their budget and other issues.
“I do think they have straightened the path,” Pillion said. “They’re on the straight and narrow now. And the Town of Pound is looking better than ever.”
Delegate Terry Kilgore introduced a House bill to repeal the decision to yank Pound’s charter. He also noted the town’s progress.
Kilgore said he told people in Pound that if they would straighten things up and work with the VML, he would come back file a bill in this year’s General Assembly to get the town’s charter back.
They did that, Kilgore told fellow delegates.
“They’ve gone through a lot of changes over there with a new mayor, new council, actually having meetings. People are showing up and not staying away to keep the town from getting a quorum. [And] They’re not the papers anymore, thank goodness.”
Delegate Danica Roem asked Kilgore if the bill contained an accountability measure to make sure Pound stays on the right track.
Although Kilgore couldn’t point to anything in this bill, he noted that “measures have been set up.” The town has hired an attorney, and VML has set up programs for them, he responded.
As of today, both Kilgore and Pillion’s bills have passed both houses.
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