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White Hall Business Owners Speak Out Against Proposed Fees

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Business owners and residents packed Monday's White Hall town council meeting to speak out against an ordinance that would increase fees for businesses by 1,000 percent.

Council wants to enact a public safety building fee and a municipal fee for fire and police protection services.

Twenty-four businesses represented by Attorney Bill Holmes agree that something needs to be done but said the proposed fees would be a tremendous burden on small businesses.

Many businesses in White Hall said their clients, who are not local, would likely go elsewhere if owners increased their costs and prices.

Currently, the White Hall Police Department only has three officers in its department. It operates out of a room in council chambers, which it has outgrown. Council said a public service building would provide room for growth.

Business owners agree, but they think there are better alternatives than raising the fees.

"These businesses also know the value of these services and are willing to talk to the city to see what can be reached as far as an agreement is concerned. But a 1,000 percent increase is a pretty sharp hit all at once, and it caught their attention. So if that was the purpose, it worked."

Mayor Jesse Corley said Monday's meeting was an important event for the future of White Hall. He was very pleased with the meeting's turnout.

"It's a very good response. Town council is tickled to death that they decided to come to the table and discuss. There aren't too many municipalities in the state of West Virginia that would bring everybody together," said Corley.

A committee plans to meet next week to begin the process of finding a solution. That committee will consist of Holmes, three of his clients, Mayor Corley, and two councilmen.