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Hancock County

Hancock County

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B&O Tax voted down in Hancock County

Updated: Wednesday, May 14 2014, 11:22 AM EDT
HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va. – A proposed Business and Occupation tax won't move forward in Weirton after council voted 3-3 and Mayor George Kondik cast a deciding no vote on Monday night.
The tax was designed to close a $1.6 million budget shortfall.
Dozens of business owners and leaders voiced their concerns, and in the end, all of them were heard. The first reading was the last for a proposed B&O tax.
The no vote triggered a sense of relief for the area's Chamber of Commerce.
“We cannot have that kind of burden fall on an individual business or its employees, consumers or our goods,” said J.J. Bernabei, chairman of the Chamber.
Chamber president Brenda Mull agreed.
“It was the right decision,” she said. “We are willing to work with them, but we did not think a B&O on our businesses was the way to go."
Relief, however, isn't what members of council are feeling as they start over with a large budget shortfall on the horizon.
"I think we gotta go back to the drawing board,” Councilman Terry Weigel said. “I think we have to come to some consensus, some new plans that haven't been proposed or modifications to what we’ve done, but bottom line, this isn't Washington. This is my hometown and we can't afford to have a shutdown."
Some councilmen have proposed different plans. And of course, business owners have their own thoughts.
“If you want to raise revenue, let's increase the tax base,” Ralph Barone of Barone Realty Service Company Inc., said. “Let's cut, and I don't think any citizen in Weirton would complain about a tax increase if you can show me where there’s cuts to be made and it’s necessary.”
City leaders only have a short period of time to come up with a solution. Weigel referenced a shutdown because the new budget will take effect on July 1.
As council works to find new ways to bridge the gap, we will continue to follow the story.
Stay with NEWS9 and for the latest updates.

B&O Tax voted down in Hancock County

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