Bill aims to address controversial reversion between Martinsville and Henry County

This comes after the localities could not reach an agreement in the last year

For more than a year, Martinsville and Henry County have been working to reach an agreement to revert the City of Martinsville back to a town.

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – For well more than a year, Martinsville and Henry County have been working to reach an agreement to revert the City of Martinsville back to a town.

Now, the Senator for both localities, Bill Stanley, is in Richmond looking to pass a new bill addressing the controversy.

“I’m always reminded that in Virginia, we don’t make any more cities and once we revert to a town, if that’s what we do, there will never be a great city of Martinsville again,” said Stanley.

Senate Bill 85 would create a vote on the ballot for Martinsville residents to vote on reversion. On Wednesday, night Henry County hosted a special meeting to discuss it.

“We think this legislation would be good because it would allow citizens to have an additional voice and go to the ballot box and cast a vote and have their say,” said Henry County Attorney George Lyle.

Even though Henry County is hosting the meeting, Martinsville officials say the legislation would not benefit them.

“This bill really makes it impossible for reversion to proceed and that’s what the county has wanted all along,” said Martinsville City Attorney Eric Monday.

Monday said the county has worked to get legislation passed to prevent reversion from happening.

“That’s the way the county has played this game for almost the last twenty years. This time is no different. They simply want to change the rules at the last minute because they don’t like the rules,” Monday said.

Still, Stanley believes it should be up to the citizens of Martinsville to decide their fate.

“Let the city of Martinsville decide for themselves. I believe that’s the fair way. That’s the right way and that’s the just way,” Stanley said.

There is also a bill in the House of Delegates, House Bill 173, addressing the situation.

On Wednesday, the Henry County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in support of both the Senate and House bill, backing the notion of allowing residents to decide whether to revert Martinsville back to a town.

At this time, there is no set date on when the election will take place if both bills pass in the General Assembly.


Below is our previous reporting on the efforts to revert Martinsville back into a town:


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.