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Council Set To Revise Budget

Estimated revenue from new city sales tax will be factored in

August 19, 2013
By IAN HICKS Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - City Council plans to amend its budget Tuesday to reflect the $1.1 million a new 0.5-percent sales tax that goes into effect Oct. 1 is expected to generate by next July.

Officials predict they eventually will collect about $2.4 million annually from the new sales tax, but are only projecting $1.1 million for the current fiscal year because the city won't receive its first revenue check from the state Tax Department until January, even though retailers will begin collecting the tax Oct. 1.

Even with that $1.1 million projection, the budget revision council is set to approve during its 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting only provides for a net increase in projected revenue of about $700,000 - indicating the city plans to make various financial adjustments, the largest of which would result from shifting responsibility for operating the Wheeling-Ohio County 911 Communications Center by the beginning of next year.

The Ohio County Commission reimburses the city for operating the center - the only municipally run 911 center in the state - through a portion of the 911 fees it collects each year, typically $500,000. Wheeling had budgeted to receive $610,000 in 911 fees this fiscal year, but Tuesday's revision would cut that projected revenue to $300,000 to reflect a mid-year transfer of operations.

The city paid $684,000 to operate the center last year - $184,000 more than its reimbursement amount for the county, leading City Manager Robert Herron to propose City Council relinquish control of the facility as a cost-saving measure.

The transfer is not official, however, as neither council members nor Ohio County commissioners have passed the necessary legislation to make that happen.

In other business, council members are expected to approve a $75,000 contract with Fairmont, W.Va.-based Reclaim LLC for lead remediation and demolition at the former police department shooting range on Wheeling Island, as well as various traffic rules.

Meanwhile, Wheeling Human Rights Commission members are still awaiting word on what shape their future operations will take following a nearly 80-percent budget cut.

During the group's last meeting, members said they were told a revised ordinance to reflect resulting changes to the organization's structure - including the lack of a dedicated staff member - likely would be ready for a first reading by council on Tuesday, but no such legislation is on the agenda.

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