MORGANTOWN — With WVU students sent home and all nonessential businesses closed for an undetermined length of time due to COVID-19, Morgantown City Manager Paul Brake said the city is not in a financial position to roll out its own assistance efforts.
At the request of some members of council, Brake broached the subject of city-funded emergency housing stipends during the body’s recent meeting.
Earlier in that session, council passed a $39.7 million 2021 budget that both Brake and Finance Director Jim Goff said will need to be totally reworked as the city is facing millions in lost tax revenue depending on how long the COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.
“I appreciate and applaud the desire to take care of our most vulnerable, but currently it’s not really within our capacity to provide that kind of assistance. We would have to look long and hard at where our current finances are at,” Brake said. “Even though we got through the budget process, unfortunately we’re going to have to redo it.”
Brake said any funds dedicated to this purpose would have to be pulled directly from city services or funding provided to outside agencies.
It was requested the issue be placed on the March 31 committee of the whole meeting under a general heading of COVID-19 updates.
In other city news, council got a look at BOPARC’s $4,697,671 budget for fiscal year 2021.
The spending plan represents an increase of about $1.3 million over the budget passed this time last year. The majority of that increase ($827,063) will come by way of the municipal sales tax, which takes effect in July.
The city allocation to BOPARC is $1,514,000.
Voted 5-2 to approve a contract with Miller Environmental worth $35,495.13 for the removal of three 10,000 gallon underground fuel tanks at the city garage. Councilors Zack Cruze and Ron Dulaney voted in the minority.
Approved an easement with MonPower that will allow the company to bury 1,266 feet of conduit housing underground power lines on airport property for a payment of $11,394.