Public Hearing for B & O Tax Cancelled

 A few weeks a Public Hearing Notice from the Town of West Union was submitted to this paper to be held on August 24th announcing a Public Hearing and first reading concerning the West Union Town Council’s proposed Business and Occupation Tax Ordinance. 

   This meeting was cancelled on Friday, August 21, to give the Town’s Attorney, Robert Rodecker of Kay Casto  & Chaney PLLC, the time to review the eleven page proposed Ordinance. 

   As explained previously, the “Privilege Tax” or “Business and Occupation Tax” ( aka: B & O Tax) is assessed to the business owners on the gross sales per year for most businesses having more than $50,000 in gross income per year.  

   Some say this tax will be pennies on the dollar but most business owners realize these pennies  have a way of becoming dollars very quickly. 

   Some believe that since they don’t own a business it won’t affect them, not realizing the businesses will have to pass the tax increase onto the customers.  

   The Town collects a Municipal Tax from each property and business owner within the Town Limits and the County collects a County Current Tax, since the Town is part of the County. 

   Yes, it would seem the town property owners and business owners already pay a double tax (County Tax + Municipal Tax) to live within or own a business in the Town limits. 

   Add to that the fact the businesses in West Virginia are rated to pay Class 4 Property Taxes, which is the highest level of property taxes plus, businesses within the Town limits pay a yearly license fee.  

   In the past the Town collected B & O Taxes from the businesses. It is believed as the businesses closed/moved out of town the Town Council realized it was costing them more to collect the tax than what they were bringing in and discontinued this Tax. 

   There have been complaints concerning the Town going to the County for funds. It is hoped everyone remembers that the Town is part of the County and the property owners in town pay a County Tax along with the Town’s Municipal Tax.  

   In reviewing the Town’s 20/21 Budget, it shows the Town is projected to receive a total of $229,968 in income. This total income is from various sources including $81,968 from Municipal Property Tax and various other taxes and income. There are no funds from grants listed. It is unclear why grants are not being sought out if the Town needs the funds so badly. 

   It was stated that the B & O Tax is a “done deal” and if anyone was to protest at the meeting that they needed to have ideas of ways to raise the funds that are needed by the Town. 

Many of the Town/County citizens can remember the promise of a hotel and possibly fast food restaurants when the Regional Jail was built and the pressing need to build the new DCHS across Rt 50 from the town so utilities could be developed in that area for future business use. 

   It would seem that between the Town and the County there is a need for a full-time employee, educated in business development, that would work on grant writing and bringing new businesses into the Town/County. This would increase the tax base, so those businesses which have stayed, served and invested in the Town would not be penalized with a B & O “Privilege” Tax for their hard work and effort.