PARKERSBURG - Members of Parkersburg City Council approved an agreement with MPH Hotels Tuesday. Council members voted 7-2 to approve the agreement of the proposed 100-unit hotel, waiving B&O tax for the construction of the hotel and earmarking $200,000 in CDBG money for the project.
MPH Hotels is the developer of the proposed hotel at the Henry Logan Head Start Center on 24th Street.
Under the agreement, the city would grant the hotel a B&O tax credit/exemption for a five-year period from its commencement, as well as on all construction costs. The city would also assist in the development of the site in the amount of $200,000 payable in two, $100,000 payments.
Photo by Jody Murphy
Ron Salter, with Salter and Associates, discusses possible changes to the Park Shopping Center with members of Parkersburg City Council’s Finance Committee Tuesday.
The hotel would create at least 15 full-time jobs that would be maintained for at least five years.
Council members Sharyn Tallman and Brad Kimes opposed the resolution.
Tallman, the Republican candidate for mayor, asked if the city had waived B&O taxes for the county, when it built schools or for the recent car dealerships expansion projects. She also asked if MPH had received concessions for constructing hotels in Vienna and Mineral Wells.
"Do we really think $200,000 should be given to skirt Davis-Bacon wages to buy furniture?" she asked. Tallman was referring to federal law that requires federal projects to pay prevailing wage.
Councilman John Rockhold pointed out the CDBG money for the project was not skirting the prevailing wage. He noted using the money to purchase furniture signified the completion of the project.
Mayor Bob Newell said it was an allowable expense and noted it was also done for the Highmark West Virginia headquarters project.
The mayor, who is seeking re-election, said many of the city's larger projects include concessions. He cited the Luigino's project that required an expanded water plant, and tax breaks for Coldwater Creek and Highmark West Virginia.
"Every big project we have ever done has different concessions," he said.
"They have to ask. It's not up to us to ask."
Kimes said after the meeting he was concerned the city was giving things away. He said the hotel was a great project and he was as guilty as the next of doing it, but it must stop at some point.
"It's getting to the point in order to get anything, we are giving things away," Kimes said.
Prior to the regular council meeting, members of the finance committee met and approved $125,000 for a traffic light at the intersection to the Park Shopping Center. Ron Salter, with Salter and Associates, the marketing firm for Park Shopping Center, gave a 30-minute presentation on possible renovations to the center that may include the involvement of a big box retailer and the 60,000-square-foot expansion of the former Big Bear store.
Committee members were initially hesitant to commit the money without solid information of expansion to the shopping center.
"It seems silly to devote money on a light until we get more information," committee member Mike Reynolds said.
"What guarantees do we have if we spend the money?" Rockhold asked.
Salter said the shopping center's owners plan to commit as much as a million dollars to the center. A traffic study must be done on the intersection.
"This is in the public relations stage right now," he said.
Newell said regardless of the expansion of the center, or new business, a traffic light will help clear up traffic issues in the Beechwood area.
The motion was approved by unanimous (4-0) vote and will be sent to council for consideration.