Weston officials are currently moving forward with an annexation plan, according to city Finance Manager Dodie Arbogast.
“The area under consideration is property that abuts Route 33 east to Allegheny Veneer, and Berlin Road to Old Route 33. The city annexed the Route 33 Highway and Berlin Road to Peterson school back in 2008, but did not annex any adjoining property,” Arbogast said.
She went on to note that her hope was to complete the annexation by December, 2018.
Arbogast went on to note that additional revenue gained through annexation would allow the city to either remove the existing Business and Occupation (B&O) tax on retail and service businesses that collect sales tax, or to implement a very high exemption to the B&O tax.
When asked for a projected amount of revenue that a possible annexation would provide the city Arbogast said that an answer to the question would only be speculation without knowing the total taxable sales of all of the 66 businesses in that purposed annexation area. She went on to note that the revenue gain from the one percent sales tax would be five times the current retail sales B&O, so the amount would be significant.
Arbogast also stated that she would propose a municipal fee exemption for commercial properties that house active businesses, as well as a line item in the following year’s budget for the marketing of
local businesses, and an exemption of residential municipal fees for owner-occupied homes, where the homeowner is 65 years or older.
Arbogast said that the exemption for those over 65 would follow the same methodology of the Homestead Exemption.
“This would ideally be a committee including local business owners that would use funding made available to help market all of the local business, whether it be directories for local hotels, or hosting events at various locations in the city limits,” Arbogast said.
Arbogast and Mayor Julia Spelsberg both stressed the importance of working with county officials in an effort to attract businesses and visitors to the county.
“The city and the county have to work together to make things better for our citizens,” Arbogast said.
“When Weston prospers, Lewis County prospers,” Spelsberg said, noting that she felt the added revenue from annexation would help the city prosper.