Marlinton Council Considers Hiring Tax Compliance Officer
Marlinton, WV –
A state auditor inspected the Town of Marlinton’s finances, and the audit went well. But the auditor said the town has too many delinquent business and occupation tax payments. Even if a business owes no tax, it still must return a completed form to the town every quarter.
During Monday evening’s council meeting, Mayor Joe Smith informs council of the auditor’s recommendation.
“Because of the lack of businesses not paying their B&O [business and occupation] tax or not sending in their quarterly report, the auditor recommends that the town hire a compliance officer to ensure that all B&O taxes are paid and/or the quarterly report is returned to the town,” he said. “That person has a lot of authority, according to the auditor. They can physically close a business down, on the spot, for not doing their B&O tax. That’s something that I don’t think anybody on this council wants to see happen, but people that owe it need to pay.”
The mayor said several businesses are behind in their tax payments or have not returned the quarterly form. Smith said he would have town office manager Star Barlow prepare a report for next month’s meeting, listing all delinquent business taxpayers. Council will consider appointment of a compliance officer after review of the report.
Smith reminded council that April is cleanup month. Town crews will remove large amounts of debris or bulky items on Mondays and Fridays, upon request to the town. Pickups generally will be at no cost, but the town retains the option to charge for very large loads.
Finally, Smith informed council that former county prosecutor Robert Jacobson had donated money to replace all American flags on light poles in the town.
Council tabled action on donating money for trout stocking of the Greenbrier River. The mayor told council that Chuck Workman, Sam Mitchell and other town business people had paid to have 1,800 pounds of trout stocked in the river at Marlinton, with the intent to promote tourism. The business people plan to stock the river again later this spring and requested an unspecified monetary donation from the town.
Councilmember Norris Long said stocking trout in the Greenbrier is not a good idea.
“The idea of stocking the Greenbrier River, at this location, with a cold water species, is not a good idea,” he said. “The concept of economic development is a snafu, because the locals know about stocking. They will have it fished out before you get anybody in here from other counties, or whatever the case may be.”
Long reminded council that the state already stocks several local streams, including Knapps Creek, East Fork and West Fork.
The mayor says the group consulted with a state expert.
“They contacted the Department of Natural Resources fish biologist – now this is what I was told,” he said. “The Natural Resources fish biologist says that the Greenbrier River will support trout year-round.”
Council will consider the donation at future meetings, after verification of the expert information.
During the public comment period, Nelson Hernandez asked council if there had been any progress on removal of dilapidated houses. Smith said he had turned the matter over to attorney Steve Hunter for legal review.
The mayor tells council town attorney Martin Saffer did not want to handle the matter.
“There’s some things that Marty just don’t want to handle,” he said. “He didn’t handle anything pertaining to the water project.”
In other business, council authorized an expenditure of $6,000 for culvert construction at the site of the new Wellness Center at Marlinton Elementary School.