AMMAN: Weston’s municipal sales tax will go into effect Jan. 1, six months earlier than originally scheduled.
The tax was slated to go into effect July 1, 2018, due to noncompliance with legislative rules — until Warner’s emergency rule decision was filed recently.
“We are very grateful that (Warner) and the Department of Revenue were so diligent in helping us resolve this issue,” Weston Finance Director Dodie Arbogast said. “(Mayor Julia Spelsberg and I) went to the governor’s office in Charleston back in April to talk about this, because the way this all came down we thought was very unfair. We presented all of our documentation and support, and about two weeks later, I got a phone call from the Department of Revenue, and we’ve been working on this together to try and get this emergency rule in place.”
According to a copy of the signed decision, a statement of the emergency circumstances and supporting documents was filed June 13 through Warner’s office and the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee.
By definition in the document, an emergency “exists when the promulgation of a rule is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety or welfare.”
Weston city officials prepared and approved their 2018 fiscal year budget without revenue estimates of the municipal consumers sales and use tax, but had projected for revenue from that tax to begin this past July 1.
Arbogast, who verified that the document received was a final approval and did not call for more action or another public hearing, hopes that six more months of funding will provide enough revenue to begin work on the Polk Creek Bridge — a bridge she described as being in “horrible shape.”
“We’ve got things we’ve got to take care of in this town, and we can’t do it without the sales tax,” Arbogast said. “Now that it’s coming earlier, I’m looking forward to a bright spring of being able to make these changes. (The tax) is going to help us tremendously.”
Public Works Director Jacob Culver thought the Polk Creek Bridge needed to be addressed for not only daily traffic concerns, but also to ensure travel for first responders.
“If anybody would see it, they can clearly see that it needs replaced,” Culver said. “That is basically the entire neighborhood’s access to and from their homes. If we would have to close that bridge down due to being unsafe, if there would be a medical emergency or fire, the emergency responders would have to go almost two miles around to get access to that neighborhood. It would extremely slow down their response time.”
Culver said the Fourth Street bridge in Weston also needs to be addressed or replaced. Spelsberg said many city officials were dedicated to ensuring the tax was implemented as soon as possible. She emphasized the sales tax has been in place in Bridgeport and Clarksburg since July 1, 2016.