PARKERSBURG -Members of Parkersburg City Council were nearly unanimous in their support of proposed B&O incentives for new businesses Tuesday.
Council, without discussion, approved the first reading of an ordinance allowing for a step-rate increase in B&O taxes for new businesses that create at least five jobs over a four-year period. The measure passed on first reading, by a 7-1 vote. Councilman Mike Reynolds was absent. Councilman Sharyn Tallman was the lone no vote.
Tallman declined to explain her vote after the meeting. She said her daughter was home from college and she was going to spend time with her.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Council member Sharon Lynch talks with John Rockhold and Jim Reed prior to the start of Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilman Brad Kimes asked if the city had any other incentives. Mayor Bob Newell said the only other was one recently approved by council providing rebates on B&O for the renovation of buildings.
Last March, council approved a 100 percent tax credit on B&O for five years on any commercial or industrial building that is 75 percent vacant and has been vacant for at least two years.
Under the current ordinance, businesses would pay a gradual increase over a five-year period: paying zero the first year, 20 percent the second, 40 percent the third, 60 percent the fourth and 80 percent the fifth.
When the issue was raised by Newell at the last meeting, Tallman afterward said she wasn't keen on the idea. The Republican mayoral candidate said it wasn't fair to new businesses that have recently entered the city and are paying the full share of taxes, while competition can come in and catch a tax break for the next five years.
Tallman did question the proposed lease-purchase of a road grader.
Council was asked to consider a lease/purchase for the financing of a road grader for the street department. The grader will cost the city $111,224 at 1.53 percent interest for 36 months.
Tallman noted the city had budgeted $41,500 for the grader and two one-ton pickups. The grader was estimated at $3,000 a month payment.
"Are we forgoing (purchasing) the trucks?" she asked Finance Director Angie Smith.
Smith explained the city would make nine payments for the grader (approximately $27,000) during the 2012-2013 budget year.
"I'm concerned we paid off other things with the intent of putting money in savings," Tallman said. "Why do we need this right now?"
"It's worn out," Newell said. "We have to buy equipment if we are going to do work."
Newell told Tallman the item was in the budget and council members had several opportunities to discuss the issue when the budget was presented and approved.
Public Works Director Jerry Edman said the grader was a 1987 model with a blown engine and worn out hydraulics.
Council member Sharon Lynch said her district has a lot of unpaved alleys and the grader was needed. In addition to grading alleys, Edman said, the grader is also used to pull ditch lines.
"It is a very much-needed item," he said.
The grader purchased was approved on first reading, by a 8-0 vote.