City to give funds for turf

votes to raise B&O taxes

June 29, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Cobourn Field at Martinsburg High School will be closed to the public beginning Monday to allow for site work and installation of artificial turf, according to a press release from Jaimee Borger, director of communications for Berkeley County Schools.

The track and field are expected to remain off-limits until Aug. 24, according to the release.

In a related matter, the Martinsburg City Council in a special meeting Thursday voted to allocate $150,000 toward the turf project over two years.

In addition to the turf request, the council voted 6-0 to adopt an ordinance to increase business and occupation (B&O) taxes to the maximum allowed by state law, despite objections aired by two people in a public hearing held before the vote. Councilman Donald Anderson was absent.

The B&O rate increases applied across eight gross sales categories have been projected to generate about $1.5 million. The rate on a ninth category, amusements, could not be raised any further, according to state law.


Berniece Collis of Minghini's General Contractors Inc. asked city leaders for some consideration to offset the increased burden, noting the family-owned business had nine projects at various stages of completion in the city.

"This tax is not business-friendly," Collis said after noting a nearly doubled tax rate increase on contractor revenues.

Bonnie Rockie, president of ArtBerkeley Inc., a nonprofit artists organization, described the tax as "regressive" and particularly harmful to she and others' effort to promote redevelopment of the downtown business district.

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