MORGANTOWN — Call it a post-election high five — county-to-county.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper paid a visit to his Monongalia County counterparts on Wednesday to offer a word of thanks following November’s defeat of Amendment 2.
Carper called the educational effort undertaken by Monongalia County in regard to Amendment 2 “a profile in courage,” explaining of the amendment, “It sounded almost too good to be true. It was.”
“We took note, the Kanawha County Commission did, that at the beginning of the discussion, debate, whatever you want to call it over the Constitutional amendments, one county stood tall very early, and it was Mon County,” he said. “And it wasn’t easy; let’s face it.”
Amendment 2 would have allowed the Legislature to exempt personal property taxes on people’s vehicles and also on what businesses pay on their inventory, equipment and machinery.
Monongalia County and others countered that those taxes are the building blocks of local budgets and that the end result of the amendment would be a worrying transfer of fiscal authority to Charleston in exchange for a promise of future support.
Carper said his appearance Wednesday wasn’t meant as a victory lap, but a call to continue the kind of cohesiveness and interaction that helped the counties achieve a common goal of stopping the amendment.
“I do believe we have to continue to do exactly what we did with these constitutional amendments. There is strength in unity. There is strength when county commissioners throughout the state of West Virginia speak with one voice,” Carper said.
Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom agreed.
“Imagine what we can do as a state when we get more counties working together. I think we proved it,” he said.
In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, Susan Riddle, executive director of Visit Mountaineer Country CVB, continued to make the rounds ahead of next week’s 2022 USA Diving Winter Championships at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park.
Riddle said the event, to be held between Dec. 14-18, is the “dress rehearsal” for the 2024 USA Olympic Diving Trials.
The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park is competing with a facility in Knoxville, Tenn. to host those trials. USA Diving intends to announce its selection in January.
In the meantime, Riddle said, the upcoming Winter Championships are another opportunity to sell USA Diving on the aquatic center and the community.
“We need people to welcome USA Diving by putting butts in the seats,” Riddle said, explaining the CVB has about 500 free tickets to be distributed for the event.
She said local businesses can support the effort by using display boards to “Welcome USA Diving” when they’re in town next week.
“We want them to know they’re a big fish in a little pond,” Riddle said.