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Additional tax bills coming for nearly 2,700 parcels in Monongalia County

MORGANTOWN — Due to a “clerical error” in Charleston, additional property tax bills will be issued for nearly 2,700 parcels tied to oil and natural gas production in Monongalia County. 

Those bills will total just over $1.2 million.  

The Monongalia County Commission on Wednesday approved a request from the state to work with the county assessor and sheriff’s tax office to determine the most efficient way to assess the additional tax tickets. 

The issue goes back to the 2022 passage of HB 4336, which changed the way oil and natural gas properties are valued. 

The error only impacts parcels tied to wells that went into production in 2021. 

Frank Capehart with the West Virginia Tax Division explained further. 

“So the first year we were enacting said rule was before the wells that began production in 2021 as it relates to annualization. Annualization is required so that if a producer begins producing in the middle of the year or towards the end of the year, we are required to increase the values they reported proportionally … We failed to do that for the first year of implementation,” he said. 

The error impacted parcels connected to 185 wells in eight counties — Monongalia, Brooke, Doddridge, Harrison, Marshall, Pleasants, Tyler and Wetzel. 

In Monongalia County, it will result in additional tax tickets for 2,687 parcels totaling $1,206,978.16.  

For some 1,864 of those parcels, the additional taxes will be $10 or less. 

On the other end of the ledger, $1,181,171.32 in additional taxes will be collected on 200 parcels. 

According to the state, Monongalia County is the first county to accept the tax division’s application to move forward. 

The state’s request was rejected by the Tyler County Commission, where, according to media reports, the error resulted in dozens of new 2021 wells being undervalued resulting in more than $15 million in uncollected taxes. 

Applications before the commissions in Brooke and Harrison counties are pending with the rest to be taken up within the next week. 

In Monongalia County, commissioners hammered home the point that it wasn’t a county mistake, and they’re not willing to simply leave that money on the table. 

Commission President Sean Sikora called it “a matter of fairness.” 

“This is a valuation issue. It’s an administration issue that happened at the state. I think it would be malpractice in our positions to turn our backs and say, ‘Well, let’s just let that slide.’” he said. 

“We did talk about it. We did discuss it a lot. It’s unfortunate. We don’t like to be the ones carrying the news forward, but it’s a function of the jobs we’re elected to do.”   

In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, the commission voted to provide ballot access for four excess levies, a city of Westover charter question and a Monongalia County Board of Education bond levy as part of the May 14 primary election. 

Each of the four excess levies were originally passed in 2016 and renewed in 2020.  

Those levies support mass transit, public libraries, city and county fire departments and parks, trails and recreation. 

They will expire June 30, 2025. If renewed, they would be extended through June 30, 2029. 

Excess levies require a 60% majority to pass. 

Were all four to be renewed, it would represent 4.7 cents for every $100 of assessed value on Class II (residential) property and 9.4 cents for Class III and IV (commercial). 

The BOE bond levy is seeking just over $142.6 million for the construction of a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) focused career center known as Renaissance Academy. 

If approved, the bond levy would cost taxpayers 10.4 cents per $100 assessed value on Class II property and 20.8 cents per $100 on Class III and IV property. 

Bond levies require a simple majority for passage. 

Lastly, in Westover’s first election held in conjunction with the county primary, that city’s voters will weigh in on a potential charter change to extend the term of office for mayor from two to four years. 

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