Morgantown CVB director talks about lodging tax at Westover City Council meeting

The next council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Westover city building.

WESTOVER — The Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) has a plan to unite all eight municipalities it serves under one standard lodging tax ordinance.

CVB director Susan Riddle spoke told Westover City Council the document has reached it’s drafting stage.

Riddle said the CVB had just received an audit and published its annual report from 2017. She gave copies of the report to the council members at Monday’s meeting.

“This is an annual report from 2017,” she said. “We just went through the same thing and had great results from all of our reviews.

“Lodging tax and tourism has been moving in a positive direction since the beginning of 2017 and continues to move in a positive direction.”

Riddle said all municipalities in Monongalia and Preston counties are moving in a positive direction.

She said introducing a standard lodging tax ordinance across the municipalities would help them as well as the CVB gain revenue and reduce waste from inefficiency.

Riddle said the plan is to have a uniform ordinance, so all are working from the same document.

Riddle said two law student interns from WVU, Riley Rodgers and Eric Winaught, have put together a draft that combines the best language and ideas from all the municipalities for review by all appropriate officials.

“It’s a simplified process,” she said. “We figure if it’s simplified we can reduce some waste, reduce some costs and use those dollars to benefit ourselves instead of spinning some wheels. More money, less problems.”

Riddle said the process would move forward as the different municipalities add input for the document.

Mayor David Johnson said Westover council would review the proposed draft.

“What we will probably do with this is compare it to what we already have because we are pretty happy with what we have right now,” he said. “Not to say that we won’t change anything.”

“I understand you want everyone on the same piece of paper.”

In other business

— Westover police chief Richard Panico said the department answered 492 calls the last two weeks. He said there were 27 traffic stops, resulting in 13 tickets. He said the department had received 11 applications for the new police officer position. He said the test would be held the first week of August, and there had been some great candidate applications.

City code enforcement official Jason Stinespring said the McDonald’s in Westover applied and was approved for a complete indoor renovation, including the installation of ordering kiosks. He said he had spoken to many businesses about various issues, including applying for new business licenses due July 1. He said he issued 40 citations, all of which had come into compliance.

City Clerk Sandra Weis said the city had received two proposals for the city finance audit for the fiscal years ending 2016, 2017 and 2018. She said Ferrari and Associates had scored the highest and was the lowest bid at $4,800 per year. She reminded council that the county assessor’s office would hold a satellite office in the council chambers from 9 a.m. to noon on July 28.

— Second ward councilmember Ralph Mullins asked Johnson if he had spoken to Thrasher Engineering about the repairs to the Holland Wall. Johnson said he had called and once he gets a price, council will vote on it.

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