City Council to evaluate floodwall fee at Tuesday's meeting

PARKERSBURG W.Va (WTAP)- The council is revisiting an issue that's existed since the floodwall's construction in 1950 concerning the maintenance fee that is currently paid by many property owners and businesses in downtown Parkersburg.

When the wall was built, property value went up in that area, while insurance costs went down.

Some council members feel that because these residents and businesses are receiving those direct benefits, they should be subjected to pay the maintenance fee.

Others feel that all members of the city receive the benefits of businesses downtown, so they should all contribute.

The wording of the proposed ordinance says the floodwall fee will be "eliminated" starting in January.

However, Council President John Reed stresses that if the ordinance is approved, money for floodwall maintenance would have to come from other public works funds.

“This is kind of a smoke and mirrors we call it in politics, because we didn’t eliminate the expenses of the floodwall, so therefore we aren’t really cutting anything, we’re just redistributing it if you would. And we’re taking the fee and transferring that from a fee from those people who derive that direct benefit, to a tax obligation to everybody in the city of Parkersburg,” explains John Reed, Parkersburg City Council President.

Reed also says Parkersburg resident taxes would not increase if the maintenance fee is eliminated.

Currently, the city has budgeted $156,000 for annual floodwall maintenance, but that is likely to increase in the coming years because of the almost 3.5 million dollars needed for repairs.

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