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Lawmaker says user fee repeal bill will hurt communities

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 4:29 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - A Wood County delegate says he does not support a bill which, as currently written, seeks to eliminate a fee in place in several West Virginia cities, including Parkersburg.

House Bill 2256 originally sought to exempt West Virginia government employees from user fees. It was amended this week to, according to the added wording, eliminate the fee altogether.

It’s been referred to the House Finance Committee.

Delegate John Kelly plans to vote against the measure if it reaches the full house. He voted against it in its original committee assignment.

Kelly notes the user fee was adopted by several West Virginia cities after it was suggested by the state as a means for cities to raise more revenue.

”If we pass this current user fee bill, it’s basically going to turn the switch off.” Kelly said Friday. “It’s immediately going to dry up sources of revenue for our communities. It’s going to put holes in budgets that our communities will not be able to maintain.”

Parkersburg City Council, on a narrow 5-4 vote, enacted the $2.50 user fee a decade ago.

An attempt at the time to recall members of council who voted for the fee, as well as then-mayor Bob Newell, who supported it, was unsuccessful.

It’s a weekly fee charged to people who work inside the city limits, regardless of whether or not they reside in the city.

Huntington and Charleston, among other West Virginia cities, have also had a user fee.

The cities of Parkersburg and Vienna also have a 1% sales tax, enacted as part of Home Rule legislation approved by the legislature.

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