House Bill 1511, which amends the City of Martinsville’s charter to require a referendum before entering the reversion process, passed through the Virginia House Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee to the House of Delegates.
The bill, presented by Delegate Eric Phillips, addresses a request from City Council that was included in this year’s legislative agenda. The amendment requires a majority vote to the question, “Shall the City of Martinsville become a town?” prior to filing for reversion with the Virginia Supreme Court.
As the state’s legislation requiring a referendum in Martinsville Reversion ends in 2026, Council feels this amendment to the City Charter ensures that Martinsville residents will always have the opportunity to voice their opinions.
“One of the major concerns we’ve heard from citizens is they felt left out of the previous reversion process from the beginning,” said Mayor LC Jones, “should this bill pass, citizens will always have a say in the matter.”
Mayor Jones and City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides addressed the House Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee during their meeting on Friday before the committee passed the bill through to the House of Delegates for a vote.
The same committee also passed HB 1512, which amends the City Charter, updating terminology and allowing the City to acquire loans.
"As we return to the mindset of being a growing City as opposed to one that is seeking reversion, the amendments to the charter give us the ability to function in a way that allows that growth to happen.” Said Ferrell-Benavides.
The two bills will now be presented to the Virginia House of Delegates.