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Pocahontas Commission Establishes Hotel Occupancy Tax Rules, Regulations, & Sets Fines

At their November 7th regular meeting, the Pocahontas county Commissioners heard Commission Counsel Bob Martin present new rules and regulations for the Hotel Occupancy Tax. Martin had discovered that the current ordinance did not establish procedures for enforcement or penalties, such as fines for people not complying with the tax.

Therefore Martin drafted up an “Order Establishing Rules, Regulations and Administrative Procedures for the Assessment, Collection and Refund of Hotel Occupancy Tax.”  This order makes it clear that it is not just hotels, motels, B & Bs and boarding houses that need to pay the tax, but every homeowner who rents out three or more rooms for any length of time, or who rents out even just one room for more than 10 days in any calendar year is also subject to collecting the 6% tax from their renter and paying it to the County. This would seem to also apply to parents whose adult children live at home and pay their parents for their room and board.

The Commissioners voted to adopt this order and assigned the Sheriff the authority and duty to enforce it. The order sets forth several fines for failure to comply with the tax. These include a late monthly filing fine of $15.00 fine and a late payment fine of $15.00. It also empowers the Sheriff with the right to conduct an audit of the taxpayer’s financial records and sets forth that if the audit finds the taxpayer in violation of the Occupancy Tax Statute, they must reimburse the County the cost of conducting the audit and if they do not do so are subject to a $500.00 fine. If they do not produce their financial records for the auditor, there is an additional fine of $100.00 per day until they do produce them.

The Commissioners were also presented with proposed new Floodplain Permit Fees which will require home owners; businesses; and industries to pay a fee to obtain a floodplain permit which heretofore have been free. The fees range from $50.00 up to $1000 or more, depending on the value of the structure being built. The Commission decided that since they are the appellant body for anyone contesting such a fee, they should not approve the fees, instead leaving that up to the Floodplain Coordinator.

In other actions, the Commissioners heard from Tammy O’Dell of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which is a Federally funded program that recruits senior citizens to do volunteer work and they are expanding their program into Pocahontas County.

The Commissioners appointed a committee to look into a Comprehensive Towing Ordinance and Emergency Rotational Towing Ordinance. This committee is composed of 4 volunteer representatives of area towing companies, one from the sheriff’s Department, County Commissioner David McLaughlin, and Mike O’Brien from the 911 Center.

The Commission awarded contributions to the following requesting non-profit organizations

  1. The Family Refuge Center – in the amount of $5000.00
  2. The child and Youth Advocacy – also in the amount of $5000.00

They approved County Assessor Tom Lane’s request to hire William Zachary Graham as a Full-Time GIS Mapper / Deputy Assessor at a salary of $$2,200 per months plus benefits.

The Commissioners also extended the lease with the WV Division of Forestry to use space in the former Shoe Factory building; re-designated the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation as the lead economic development organization for the County, appointed Bob Minghini as a Public Service District Board member and signed an agreement for hay at the East Fork Industrial Park.

They went into an Executive Session to discuss a personnel matter at the Day Report Center, but did not take any action on this.

They adjourned following the payment of invoices.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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