A bill that’s moving through the House of Delegates gives residents of the Wise County town of Pound a year to “get their house in order” or lose their town charter.
Del. Terry Kilgore, R-Scott County, said he introduced the legislation to revoke the charter at the request of county officials.
Over the last two years, he told a House subcommittee Friday, the situation in the town has been “a comedy of errors.” The town council no longer has a quorum after several members resigned, he said. The town doesn’t provide water or sewer service. The police department has been disbanded, leading the Wise County commonwealth’s attorney to dismiss “all kinds of cases,” he said. And someone in the town recently discovered $20,000 in checks in a drawer, he said.
The town was created in 1984. The 2020 census counted 877 residents, a drop of 15.4% from a decade earlier.
The provisions of Kilgore’s bill, which is now headed for the full Senate committee on counties, cities and towns, would take effect July 1, 2023, unless the town turns itself around before then.
“We’ll try to give them a chance to get their house in order,” Kilgore said Friday. “This gives us the stick to say, ‘Hey, y’all need to solve your issues, solve your problems if you want to go forward as a town.'”
The subcommittee also unanimously reported out a bill of Kilgore’s that would terminate the Lee County town of St. Charles, which has not had a seated town council since 2016 and has just 73 residents. An identical bill is making its way through the state Senate.