Elkins looks at spending sales tax revenue

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson Elkins City Council members, from left, David Parker, Linda Vest and Charlie Friddle take part in Friday morning’s Finance Committee meeting focusing on how to spend the revenue from the city’s new 1 percent sales tax.

ELKINS — City officials began work on determining how to spend the revenue from the city’s new 1 percent sales tax during a special call Finance Committee meeting Friday morning.

Elkins leaders looked at projects that are included in the five-year strategic plan the city passed last year, and talked about how much funding could possibly be provided for those projects in the next fiscal budget.

City Treasurer Tracy Judy made a suggestion toward the end of Friday’s meeting to “try to budget $800,000 from the sales tax revenue to the items in the strategic plan.”

The city of Elkins has received nearly half a million dollars in revenue from the new 1 percent sales tax so far. When the second revenue check from the state arrived in January, Judy announced the city had received a combined total of $474,413.37 over the five-month period since the new tax went into effect.

The city only anticipated receiving $250,000 in sales tax revenue in the current budget.

“We should have another check coming in before the budget has to go in, by the middle of March,” Judy said Friday.

“There will also be some carry-over from this year, because we’d just budgeted for $250,000,” she added.

Officials offered general consensus agreement to Judy’s suggestion of budgeting $800,000 of sales tax revenue for strategic plan projects.

The recommendations from Friday’s committee meeting will go before full council. A special call City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 has been set aside to discuss in more detail how to spend the sales tax revenue.

No decisions made in Friday’s meeting are final or binding.

Strategic plan projects discussed during Friday’s meeting included implementing the Main Street Streetscape plan, which officials proposed setting aside $50,000 for; providing adequate police staffing, with a proposed allotment of $125,000; creating a fund for demolition of condemned structures, with a proposed allotment of $50,000; and creating a public relations position responsible for all the city’s media, with a proposed allotment of $40,000.

Speakers during the meeting’s public comment section included former Elkins mayor Judy Guye, who asked that the Randolph County-Elkins Health Department’s allotment from the city be raised from $4,000 to $6,000 in the next budget; Elkins Main Street Executive Director Madalyn Humphrey, who asked that the city provide funding to help with Streetscape improvements; and former council member Nanci Bross-Fregonara, who asked that the city place traffic lights at intersections by the Elkins-Randolph County YMCA, the Randolph County Community Arts Center and the Elkins Depot Welcome Center.