Clarksburg council heeds its citizens’ advice

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s said that good government is respondent to citizens, listening to their concerns and reacting accordingly.

In that regard, Clarksburg City Council took positive steps to good government with its decision to postpone indefinitely any plans to raise the sales tax 1 percent.

Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe and Mayor Cathy Goings told Staff Writer Jim Davis on Tuesday that city leaders had decided to heed the advice of local business people who had voiced concerns.

“At this point in time, we feel it’s best not to proceed with the implementation of the 1 percent sales tax,” Howe said. “We would prefer to have a majority buy-in with the business community prior to implementing such a tax.”

Clarksburg originally had planned to raise the sales tax from the state-mandated 6 percent to 7 percent as part of its Home Rule proposal.

The city would use the Home Rule authority granted by the Legislature to change the tax structure, reducing the business and occupancy (B&O) tax in some categories while raising the sales tax.

The net results would have been about $2.2 million, which city leaders had planned to use to boost the underfunded police and fire pension funds. Part of the proceeds would be used to boost economic development and improve infrastructure.

Few could argue with city leaders’ reasoning on finding funding for those needs.

Clarksburg is one of many dealing with the legacy costs of pension promises that were short-sighted at best by past administrations.
And a quick look around finds plenty examples of the city’s infrastructure needs.

But city business people were rightfully concerned…

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