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Morgantown City Council approves restaurant tax on 4-2 vote; city tourism board appointed

The Morgantown City Council met in regular session on Thursday, September 12th at the Eva J. Hawes Building. All council members were in attendance: Dustin Embry, Sharon Johnson, Dionne Merritt, Russell Givens, Jason Gaskey, and Sterling White.

The council voted 4-2, with White and Gaskey voting nay, to approve the second reading of the restaurant tax ordinance. The three percent tax will take effect on January 1, 2020. According to Mayor Billy Phelps, ninety percent of the money collected will go toward the renovation of the Charles Black City Park. The restaurant tax is projected to generate $240,000 annually.

The total cost of the renovation of the park is $3,502,241. The city would bond the project for 25 years at the overall payback of $5,297,049.50, principal $3,645,000, and interest of $1,652,049.50.

They also approved the establishment of a city tourism board, a Hotel/Motel Tax, and a one-percent transit room tax, and by the same 4-2 vote.

The following people were appointed to the city tourism board: Jan Embry, Jordan Evans, Katie Gary, Marty Jones, Dewayne Haynes, and Hannah Grey.

The council also approved the second reading of the property tax ordinance, in which rates were 11.1 Real Property and 12.67 tangible.

Mayor Phelps announced that the owner of the building on the corner, next door to the old Dime Store which has been torn down, claims extensive damage was done to her building.

"We have turned it over to the insurance," said Mayor Phelps.

Various city agencies reported on recent activity:  

Morgantown Fire Department

Structural Fires- City -0, County -1

Vehicle Accidents - City-1, County-6

Calls for Assistance - City-1, County-2

Medical Assistants - City -3, County-1

Total Calls -15

Morgantown Police Department

Dispatched calls for service- 352

Arrests- 32

Criminal cases -4

Special details- 12

Vehicle Accidents -12

Other Agency assists -44

Traffic Citations-77

Total Calls for Service 1350

Planning & Zoning

Permits granted for a storage building on Dave Gaskey Lane and a dentist office on Logansport Road.

 Housing Authority

The Housing Authority did not meet due to lack of quorum.

Utilities Commission

Workers will start the Mooretown Loop gas project after crops are out of the fields. They purchased a leak detection device to identify water lines underground, which should help minimize street damage in the future. The commission has an ongoing evaluation of equipment and tools to determine purchase priorities in the future.

Code Enforcement

Several cases are closed, and there are 11 open cases now being worked. The examples include high grass, windows, exterior walls, junk lawn equipment, garbage, and couches in the yards.

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