Local small business owners are expressing opposition to a city of Weston plan to annex area property that abuts Route 33 East to Allegheny Veneer, and Berlin Road to Old Route 33. The area includes 66 businesses which would be affected, including Walmart.
Walmart and Sheetz corporate offices did not respond to multiple requests for comment by press time, but a few small business owners and managers did comment on the plans.
“I don’t think the annexation will be beneficial for small businesses because we have enough costs as it is with rent and taxes,” said Nancy Cogar owner of Best of Styles Salon located in Market Place Shopping Plaza.
Betsy Murphy, the owner of the Shear Bliss Family Salon and Tanning, located in Stonewall Junction Plaza, agreed with Cogar and went on to say that she was concerned that the one percent sales tax, which went into effect on Jan. 1, would deter business.
Shannon Cattafesta, the manager of WCO Flooring, also located in Stonewall Junction Plaza, noted that she was already charging the new sales tax on purchases delivered and installed within city limits. Cattafesta added that having to figure out if addresses were in the city limits really added to her work. She went on to express concerns about a possible annexation, but did add that WCO Flooring was already charging the additional sales tax in other cities who have adopted it, including Fairmont and Bridgeport. She also said she did not feel the tax had hurt business in those areas.
City Financial Manager Dodie Arbogast highlighted plans for the additional revenue generated, should the annexation take place in an interview in early January 2018. Chief among those plans would be doing away with existing Business and Occupation tax on retail and service businesses that collect sales tax.
Other possible plans Arbogast laid out include a line item in a future budget to promote Weston to potential businesses, a municipal fee exemption for commercial properties that house active businesses, and an exemption of residential municipal fees for owner-occupied homes where the owner is 65 years of age or older.