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Parkersburg City Council to vote on B&O exemption

Stanley to issue committee assignments

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg City Council members on Tuesday will receive their 2021 committee assignments and decide whether to extend a B&O tax exemption for another quarter.

The first regular meeting of the year is slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building.

Council members and Mayor Tom Joyce were sworn in for their new term on Jan. 5. Second-term Councilman Zach Stanley was elected as council president, while Councilwoman Sharon Kuhl, also entering her second term, was chosen as vice president.

One of Stanley’s first orders of business will be appointing members to council’s three primary committees — Finance, Personnel and Public Works — and other boards and positions.

Stanley said he’s asked his fellow council members, four incumbents and four newcomers, what areas interest them and is trying to fill the committee rosters and appointments out from there.

“I’m asking them what would they like to do,” he said. “You try to move those chess pieces as best you can to move the city forward.”

Joyce is asking council to authorize a third business and occupation tax exemption for the first $500 owed by restaurants and retail establishments, service businesses and those renting or leasing real property for the quarter that ended Dec. 31. The first two were approved at the mayor’s request as a means of returning some money to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to slow its spread.

Approximately 900 filers in each quarter used the exemption, saving a combined $382,679, Joyce has previously said.

“Anything we can do to try and assist businesses during this time is wonderful,” Stanley said. “A lot of these businesses are not operating at anything close to their full capacity.”

New Councilman Chris Rexroad is one of the sponsors of the ordinance, along with Stanley, Kuhl and Councilman Bob Mercer. Rexroad said he wants to hear the measure discussed at Tuesday’s meeting but he likes the idea in principle.

“Just to give them a little breathing space, ’cause everybody’s struggling with the restrictions,” he said.

The tax exemption ordinance is on first reading, as is an item referred by the Municipal Planning Commission in December. If approved, that ordinance would abandon a utility right of way and access easements on a portion of Harmon Street and a nearby unnanmed alley. The street segment and alley were abandoned in 1985, but the easements were retained to allow access for utility work.

The move was requested so that Brookside Manor could build eight duplexes there next to its other housing units.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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Tuesday’s Parkersburg City Council meeting

* Scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building.

* Council President Zach Stanley will announce committee appointments.

* First reading of an ordinance exempting the first $500 of business and occupation taxes for restaurants and retail establishments, service businesses and those renting or leasing real property.

* First reading of an ordinance vacating the remaining permanent utility right of way at Harmon Street, north of 25th Street, and an unnamed alley to allow for construction of duplexes.

* Those attending are required to wear a mask or face covering. Six-foot social distancing will be observed.

* The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

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