WEIRTON - Weirton City Council will be taking a look at an ordinance amendment which will establish a business and occupation tax of 6 percent on all gas drilling taking place within the city limits.
The Weirton Finance Committee approved the measure for recommendation to city council at a 2-1 vote Thursday with Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh abstaining. The proposed ordinance will go before the full council on Monday.
City Manager Valerie Means said there is no such drilling taking place within the city limits at this time but because of the property available and the layout of the city, there is a potential.
AMEND ORDINANCE — City officials are set to amend an ordinance that, if passed, would implement a business and occupation tax rate of 6 percent on natural gas drilling within the city limits. Pictured is Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel and City Manager Valerie Means during the regular Finance Committee meeting on Thursday. -- Angelina Dickson
Ward 5 Councilman George Gaughenbaugh said he sees the ordinance amendment as a positive. He said there is going to be drilling in the area whether people want it to come or not. He said there is no reason for the city not to benefit from it.
According to Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel, drilling sites are regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection. He said cities in the past have attempted to ban drilling within the city limits which have all been repealed and there are few cities which actually have a drilling site inside the city limits. When the drilling does come to the area, Weigel said there will be costs associated with it, such as additional training for police and fire as well as possible road damage because of increased traffic, and the city will need a revenue source to address those needs.
"Will this be a deterrent? Maybe, but if so, so be it," Weigel said.
Weirton City Council will meet 7:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of the Weirton Municipal Building
Means said she agrees and shares many of the same concerns expressed by Weigel. She said she feels the ordinance is a proactive stance on the issue. She said the ordinance will not affect any business in the city at this time because there are no drilling sites. She said the action will also help the city be more prepared to address the potential concerns.
Means said the city also is looking into the Unified Development Ordinance to see if any changes can be made there concerning setbacks and road bonds in connection with natural gas drilling activity, but the city currently has no such regulations.
City council will meet at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the council chambers of the Weirton Municipal Building.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)