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Parkersburg officials propose budget revisions

Increases in projected revenue, $200K for Southwood pool project

PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg City Council’s Finance Committee will consider a series of mid-year budget revisions, including nearly $640,000 in additional projected sales and business and occupation tax revenue.

Of that, $200,000 is proposed to be added to the planned project to rebuild and enhance the Southwood Park pool.

The Finance Committee is slated to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Executive Conference Room on the second floor of the Municipal Building. The sole item on the agenda is the resolution revising the fiscal 2021-22 budget.

The biggest increase in revenue is $498,000 to the $6 million projected from the 1 percent municipal sales tax.

“Every year, every quarter really, we get better data,” Mayor Tom Joyce said.

Finance Director Eric Jiles said he proposed the revision after seeing the receipts for the first quarter of the fiscal year, which totaled $1,725,000. On Tuesday, he received figures for the second quarter, covering October to December: $1,881,000, the second-highest quarter on record since the sales tax was enacted in July 2015.

The new projection of nearly $6.5 million is not only realistic, it may also fall short of the actual receipts, Jiles said.

“But without knowing how high it’s going to be, I do think it’s sufficiently conservative to be safe,” he said.

The highest revenue total was $1,919,000, collected in the final quarter of fiscal year 2020-21.

A $140,000 increase is projected for the original $7.4 million B&O tax revenue figure. Jiles said that’s how much the city expects to recoup after contracting with a third party to identify businesses operating in the city that are not filing and paying B&O taxes.

“These are the vendors that supply or provide rental equipment in some of the larger businesses … that are likely not filing B&O returns,” he said. “They’re earning revenue here in the city, and they owe B&O too.”

Such businesses may provide cleaning or inventory services, Jiles said. It’s likely they simply aren’t aware they owe the taxes, he said, noting many of them operate in numerous cities and jurisdictions.

The company Datamax won the bid for the work, Jiles said. Their fee is 50 percent of the amount they recover, so the revision includes $70,000 in payment. They receive 50 percent of the revenue from those filers for the next two years as well.

“And then after that, it’s all ours,” Jiles said.

Council last year allocated $673,617 to a planned project to rebuild the Southwood Park pool, constructed in 1979, and address issues like concrete misalignment, cracks and leaks in the gutter line and a damaged return line in the pool wall. It would also add a zero-depth entry area, new water features, a new concrete pool deck, new lighting and audio, a speed slide and expanded kids’ pool area and shaded spaces.

Council also voted to authorize Joyce to apply for a $2 million federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for the project, which would require local matching funds.

“City Council has already been supportive of this project … but they also know this is an expensive project,” Joyce said.

Other allocations include $80,000 for overtime in the Police Department and $25,000 in the Fire Department. Joyce said this is due in large part to the pay increase council approved in September granting officers and firefighters an additional 50 cents an hour when they have served 10, 15 and 20 years. In the Police Department, $50,000 is being moved from the salary line item for unfilled patrolman positions.

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

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Upcoming Parkersburg City Council Meetings

* Finance Committee — 6 p.m. Thursday, Executive Conference Room, Municipal Building.

* City Council — 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, council chambers.

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