Sales tax brings in $3 million for Clarksburg

Elkins still considering creating similar law

ELKINS — Clarksburg city officials say the 1 percent sales tax that went into effect in their city last year — which is similar to one Elkins city officials are considering — has brought in more than $3 million in revenue in its first 12 months, but they caution that contributing circumstances in Clarksburg are different than in Elkins.

Hoping to raise sagging tax revenue, Elkins officials are looking at creating a 1 percent sales tax on businesses located within city limits, which is possible now that the state has approved the city’s application to amend the original Home Rule plan for Elkins.

Just such a sales tax went into effect in Clarksburg on April 21, 2016.

“I believe it’s gone relatively well in its first year,” said Clarksburg City Clerk Annette Wright. “It’s been beneficial.”

Clarksburg’s city treasurer, Kim Karakiozis, agreed.

“The tax has been a huge help to Clarksburg in helping to fund the police and fire pensions and allowing us to do more infrastructure projects around the city,” Karakiozis said by email.

Clarksburg began receiving funds from the new tax in July 2016, she said. In the first three months, July to September of 2016, the city received $427,403.15.

In the next three months, October through December 2016, Clarksburg received $1,110,115.38 from the state. A total of $1,002,325.38 went to the city in the next three months, January through March, and $1,065,377.74 was received by Clarksburg from April through June.

Over the course of the first 12 months, Clarksburg received a total of $3,605,221.65 through the new tax, Karakiozis said.

Although several downtown Elkins business owners have spoken out against a possible sales tax, Wright said there was no such opposition voiced last year in Clarksburg.

“I don’t believe we had much opposition,” she said. “We didn’t really have anyone to speak to oppose it during the public hearing.”

Wright was quick to point out that the timing was perfect for passing Clarksburg’s new tax last year.

“The surrounding communities did the same thing at about the same time as we did, so people couldn’t say, ‘Well, I’m just going to go to Bridgeport and shop.’ Bridgeport imposed a 1 percent sales tax as well,” she said.

Elkins city officials said last month they will consider using minor boundary adjustments to annex businesses into city limits as an alternative to creating a new sales tax.

Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and Revenue Committee Chairman Charles Friddle agreed to meet with Wal-Mart corporate officials about possible annexation and report back at the next Committee meeting, which will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in room 212 of City Hall.