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Morgantown Council approves $1.8M increase in final budget revision

MORGANTOWN — In its final budget revision for the current fiscal year, Morgantown City Council recently approved a first reading of an amendment reflecting a $1,807,724 increase.

Interim Finance Director Lori Livengood said the amendment factors in $2,260,000 in additional B&O taxes, largely due to construction projects being undertaken by WVU.

“We also had regular B&O up about $960,000 from what was budgeted, but we are still down about 9% from last year and the previous year,” Livengood said.

The amendment also included a $23,000 increase in excise taxes on utilities and a $28,000 increase in wine and liquor taxes.

To the negative, the budget revision reflects a $350,000 downward adjustment to hotel occupancy taxes, a $200,000 reduction in fines, fees and court costs and a $12,651 drop in gas and oil severance taxes.

“With the hotel occupancy tax, 50% of that typically goes to the CVB and then 25% will go to BOPARC. With that reduction those contributions will be affected,” Livengood said. “But as part of this revision, those adjustments were made and we turned around and added that back into the contributions so they would not lose the funding due to COVID-related events.”

The $1.8 million budget increase comes on the heels of a $4.5 million budget bump approved by council April 20.

At the time, Livengood said the bulk of those funds also came by way of higher than projected B&O construction revenue ($2,200,000) and the city’s final CARES Act reimbursement ($1,900,990). That number also included a $228,000 bump in wine and liquor taxes.

Lastly, during its most recent session, council also finalized what amounted to a shifting of $27,100 to accommodate the consolidation of the city’s engineering and public works departments.

“The intent of this is to fully integrate the two. This will allow us to, as we’re doing design for a project, actually have the folks who will be building it or being required to maintain it, be a part of that process early on,” Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said.

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