Starting late last year, the city of Weston has been putting together a proposal to annex the land including more than sixty businesses along Route 33. The city annexed the roads in those areas in 2008, but now it wants to include the businesses. City Finance Manager Dodie Arbogast said those stores in the proposed annexation area have been getting a leg up from proximity to the city without having to contribute to it.
“Right now all the local businesses are being taxed and supporting Weston and the businesses outside of Weston are benefiting from that, the population, but not providing any of the costs,” said Arbogast.
That proposal is getting mixed results from those businesses, however. Mountaineer RV recently opened just outside the city limits. They are in the area that would be folded into the city under the plan, and business owners said they’re OK with that.
“We knew coming into Weston hat we would possibly fall under the annexation if they try to go out to Wal-Mart, eventually, and that was OK with us. We were fine with it. We knew that it would eventually help Lewis County, help Weston, and prosper the county, prosper the city,” said co-owner Gina Starett.
Many business owners disagreed. Though none wanted to go on camera, many spoke out against the plan, and some are even collecting signatures to raise support against it. But Arbogast said the raise in taxes will benefit area residents and businesses already in the city by eliminating or lowering the fees they currently are assessed.
“When you look at the sales tax increase, we can take some of that, then, and use it to reduce the burden on citizens and businesses that are here,” said Arbogast.
Arbogast hopes to present the plan to the County Commission during its meeting next week.