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Westover Council votes in favor of sales tax, raises for mayor, council members

A pair of ordinances implementing Westover’s 1% municipal sales tax received unanimous first reading approval during Monday’s meeting of Westover City Council. 

The West Virginia Home Rule Board  approved Westover’s application to the Home Rule program back in October. That application included the establishment of the new sales tax as well as a number of code enforcement matters.   

If ultimately approved, the sales tax will take effect July 1, 2024, and is expected to generate approximately $3.3 million annually for the city. 

As a requirement of establishing the sales tax, the city must reduce its business and occupation privilege taxes — meaning non-construction B&O taxes. Those taxes fall into a number of categories, including amusement, banking, contracting, manufacturing, public service utility, rental, retail, service and wholesale. 

Council voted to amend and reenact Article 757 pertaining to business and occupation taxes eliminating B&O taxes on manufacturing, wholesalers and amusement.

Added together, those three categories generated a total of $35,034 in fiscal year 2022 and $26,333 in FY 2021. 

The city is also proposing lower B&O taxes in the service/other category, from 1% to .75%, as well as in banking/financial from 1% to .50%. 

Service/other B&O taxes generated $328,371 in FY 2022 and $381,882 in FY 2021. Taxes generated from banking and financial institutions brought in $17,361 in FY 2022. 

In other news from Monday’s meeting, council cast a third and final vote to approve charter changes raising the pay for the positions of mayor and council member. 

Beginning July 1, 2024, the mayor’s pay will jump from $55,000 to $75,000. The mayor will also be included in future cost-of-living raises approved by council. 

Council voted 6-0 to approve the raise, with Councilor Jeff Friend abstaining. 

Members of council are paid per meeting. The per-meeting rate will increase from $80 to $120. 

Council voted 4-0 to approve, with councilors Friend, Edie Viola and Ally Jackson abstaining.  

Lastly, at $27,250 B&D Transport was the lowest of three bidders to lay a concrete pad for the new concession stand in Westover Park.