Durbin in danger of charter forfeiture
Due to low voter turnout ﾖ only 18 of approximately 150 registered voters ﾖ the town of Durbin, which became an incorporated town in 1906, may have to forfeit its charter.
The uncontested seats of mayor and council were filled, but it is uncertain how long the council will be able to govern. Returning as mayor is Donald Peck and council consists of incumbents John Osborne, Bob Gray, Earl ﾓPunkﾔ Vance and Mike Vance and is rounded out by Crystal Vance. There was not a candidate for recorder and that seat will be vacant as of June 22.
According to West Virginia Code, Chapter eight, Municipal Corporations, Article 35, Dissolution of municipalities, if fewer than 20 legal votes were cast in the last election, the municipality ﾓshall have its charter or certificate of incorporation and all rights, powers and privileges so conferred upon such municipality forfeited.ﾔ
For a town to forfeit its charter, a petition signed by at least one resident has to be submitted to the county commission, who in turn sends a notice to the mayor and recorder of the town within 10 days of receiving the petition.
The county commission will then hold a hearing to declare the forfeiture of the town charter. The forfeiture will become effective once all the townﾒs debts have been paid. Any interest in the town budget will be surrendered to the West Virginia state auditor.
Resident Sherry Cassell said a petition to unincorporate is circulating through town.
County commissioner Martin Saffer is also employed as the town of Durbinﾒs attorney. Saffer had no comment on the subject.
If residents of Durbin wish to become incorporated again, they can petition the county commission within one year after the forfeiture.
Several residents of Durbin have said they wish the town would unincorporate and discontinue having a council and mayor.
ﾓI donﾒt think people around here want them in the government,ﾔ Candice Lehman said of the elected officials. ﾓThey arenﾒt trustworthy and they are mean. I think it would be best to unincorporate.ﾔ
ﾓNobody wanted to vote,ﾔ Kenneth Lehman added. ﾓWhen you got three people living in the same house on the council, itﾒs not ethical or practical.ﾔ
Cassell said she felt people didnﾒt vote because the seats were all uncontested.
ﾓItﾒs hard to get people to fill these positions,ﾔ she said. ﾓIt was cut and dried, there were just enough to fill the seats so a lot of people thought, ﾑWhat would be the point?ﾒ Also, people are fed up with the way the town is coming across. People are tired of the bickering and backstabbing.ﾔ
Lehman said he, too, believed the best move for the town is to unincorporate.
ﾓIt happened at Cass,ﾔ he said. ﾓGreen Bank and Arbovale are both unincorporated and theyﾒre doing fine. I think we should just let the county and state take over.ﾔ
The Lehmans are in the midst of a legal battle with the town over a fence on their property.
Cass became an incorporated town in 1902 and returned the charter to the state when it unincorporated in the mid 1980s.