MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — On Wednesday, the Monongalia County Commission held a public meeting to discuss extending the county’s property tax district and the sales tax increment district (TIF). Many different representatives from across the area partook in a lengthy discussion about the decision.
“Both of those are vital tools utilized here in Monongalia County,” Commissioner Sean Sikora said. “They are very useful tools to help us with economic development that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred in our county.”
TIF was pointed at as being responsible for the creation of the Monongalia County Ballpark and other areas in the county. TIF is a mechanism in West Virginia state law that helps cities and counties pay for necessary projects by reserving future increases in property tax revenues for local use when other finances are not available.
Ultimately the commission, consisting of Sikora and Tom Bloom, approved and passed both resolutions. The sales tax will be extended 10 years, while the TIF will be extended 15 years. It will now go to Charleston for reviewal before coming back to the commission.
“It has worked not only in this area, but the state,” House of Delegate Joe Statler said in the hearing.
Areas like West Ridge see this opening the door to continue expanding and an opportunity to rake in around half a billion dollars. A representative from West Ridge said this could create more than a thousand full-time equivalent jobs.
Meanwhile, Granville Mayor Patricia Lewis says that the town would approximately lose out on $1 million a year due to the resolutions.
“The reason that I say that I’m not standing here opposed or for both of these amendments is because the Town of Granville has already showed that we support the economic growth in Monongalia County,” Lewis said in the hearing.
Other than TIF and the sales tax, the Commission took no action at the meeting on setting a public hearing for the panhandling ordinance.
The commission also approved a grading proposal for the construction of the Chestnut Ridge Park Tubing Hill. Sikora said that it took extra time for crews last year to groom the hill near the tub lift.