LOGAN, W.Va, — If you attend town council meetings in Logan County, one thing you may soon realize is that even though the different municipalities are dissimilar many of them have the same problems. And some of them are aproaching those problems from different directions. On Tuesday evening the city of Logan had a second reading on an ordinance that will see a legal ad taken out in the pages of the Logan Banner listing the names of businesses and residences that owe the town tax money. Offenders will have a specific period of time to pay up until the list is printed, similar to how many counties print lists of residences that are delinquent in their property taxes.
City Attorney Kendall Partlow announced the second reading of the proposed ordnance on Feb. 14 during a lengthy council meeting.
“We had our first reading last month,” Mayor Serafino Nolletti said. This is for the second reading. If it is approved the ordinance will take effect immediatly.”
As there were no public comments in opposition to the proposed ordinance it was approved by vote of the council members present. Those on the council hope that the measure helps improve collections. Former Logan councilmember Dave Steele used to complain that the town did not go after the businesses which owed the city money. Steel noted that if a business did not pay its B&O taxes to the town its presence in the town was not helping the municipality very much.
The business and occupation tax is a type of tax levied by municipal governments in West Virginia and Kentucky. The state of West Virginia allows municipalities to collect B&O taxes from companies doing business in their town limits. These taxes are often the major source of revenue for many of the municipalities in the Mountain State. The West Virginia municipal B&O tax acts as a gross receipts tax. For example, the town of Man benifitted tremendously from the different construction companies and contractors who worked on the New Route 10 project between Logan and Man for the areas within the town’s limits. Other communities benefit from B&O taxes in their towns, and the businesses benefit from things such as fire and police protection and other town services.
On Monday evening the town of West Logan approved moving forward in filing leins against businesses in the town which are dramatically behind in their business and occupation taxes.
“Many of our communities have a problem with some businesses which are behind in their B&O taxes,” noted West Logan town clerk Mark Mareske on Tuesday afternoon. “This is not fair to other businesses in our towns which do pay their taxes.”
City Accountant Jeff Valet had some good financial new for the city of Logan. Valet discussed the upcoming payments to the retirement funds for the city’s first responders. Several months ago Valet and Fire Chief Scotty Beckett explained that the funds in the accounts for the firefighters and police pension funds “were not where they needed to be.”
Much of that was due to changes the state had made in such matters. However some progress has been made recently both men noted.
Valet got paperwork signed for a drawdown for the town to contribute $40,000 to the fund.
“We got it above 45 percent of the maximum this year,” Valet said. “The money is in the accounts. This is a slow process but we are getting to where we need to be. Over the course of the next five to seven years, we will get it where we want it.”
J.D. Charles is a freelance writer for Civitas Media and a retired reporter for The Logan Banner. He can be reached by calling 304-752-6950.