PARKERSBURG — Parkersburg City Council voted Tuesday to allocate $525,000 to a pair of foundations to distribute money to help nonprofits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Tom Joyce presented the proposed budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, with hearings scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 10.
The resolution for non-profit aid was passed 7-1, Councilor JR Carpenter opposed and Councilor Jesse Cottrille absent.
Joyce proposed that the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation and the Bernard McDonough Foundation administer the U.S. Federal Bailout Act funds because of their combined 120 years of experience managing and distributing funds to entities serving the community.
“This is a one-time deal for us, while these people are doing it professionally,” he said.
Parkersburg resident Sherry Dugan asked several questions about the resolution during the public forum, and the issues she raised were taken up by Carpenter and Councilman Wendy Tuck ahead of the votes.
In response to a question about administrative costs, Board Chairman Zach Stanley said $25,000 went to the Community Foundation for administration. PACF executive director Judy Sjostedt Ritchie said that’s half the 10% fee they normally charge to run a transfer grant.
“Because this is not a permanent charitable fund, we cannot expect our private donor funds to be able to subsidize related activities,” Ritchie said. “We too exist in this city. We are also a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. And so that also helps us through this time of COVID. »
Carpenter asked how the amount was determined.
Joyce said he has been receiving requests from nonprofits for months about ARPA funds, for which pandemic-affected nonprofits are an acceptable use. The $525,000 allocation leaves nearly $2.9 million in the first installment to the city for other uses, such as stormwater improvements, he said.
“We never had a committee meeting to discuss it, and we are stewards of that money,” said Charpentier.
Carpenter made a motion to send the resolution to the finance committee, but it failed 4-4, with Carpenter, Tuck, and councilors Mike Reynolds and Chris Rexroad voting for it.
Joyce presented the board with a 2022-23 budget that includes a business and professional tax exemption of $200 per quarter for all filers. If approved by the board, it would replace a $500-a-quarter exemption for restaurants and retail establishments, service businesses and those who rent or lease real estate that has been offered for the past nine trimesters to ease the effects of the pandemic.
The new exemption would reduce B&O’s projected revenue by more than $480,000 from this year and nearly $1 million from the prior year. Joyce noted that this is partially offset by increased sales tax revenue, but added that the tax “was never intended as a wholesale replacement for B&O.”
Charleston lawmakers continue to discuss reducing or eliminating the B&O tax, Joyce said, and cities need to be prepared.
“It’s not something that goes away” he said. “Cities in West Virginia are going to have to take steps to reduce B&O even further.”
The budget includes a proposed 3.2% overall wage increase, as well as longevity wage incentives for civilian employees, similar to the 50-cent-an-hour increases approved last year for police and military officers. firefighters who served 10, 15 and 20 years. .
Joyce said the increases were made possible in part because of the city’s progress on its police and fire pension obligations since closing existing funds to new hires and changing its payment method to 2017.
“We’ve started to see some of those gains,” he said. “I didn’t think, quite frankly, that we would see these gains as quickly as we did.”