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Moundsville Hopeful About Recouping Financial Losses Brought On by COVID-19 Pandemic

MOUNDSVILLE — With this week’s progress on the American Rescue Plan of 2021 — aimed at offering several avenues to secure federal funding for local, state and tribal governments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic — Moundsville city administrators hope the bill will bring them some relief.

At Tuesday evening’s meeting, city manager Rick Healy said the bill was huge for the city and its residents. The relief bill, as it was passed through the House of Representatives, stands to reimburse local and state governments for funding spent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to reimburse those governments for money lost as a result of the pandemic since Jan. 27, 2020.

“This is a big deal,” Healy said. “There’s a lot of money that’s going to be out there for the communities, if this passes.

“I would urge council … to keep a close eye on the bills that are currently in the West Virginia Legislature that will have an impact on cities and municipalities,” he added. “So please stay familiar on those bills.”

Healy said that while the Senate may still make modifications to the bill’s terms, its passage would represent the first time that communities of all sizes receive direct financial relief.

“Should the plan pass the Senate as it did the House, Moundsville will receive a direct payment from the government as it is currently written,” he said. “It can cover costs incurred as a result of such emergencies, it can replace revenue that was lost, delayed or decreased as determined by the city, based on revenue projections, … or it may address a negative economic impact of such an emergency.”

He later expanded on his thoughts, saying that Moundsville would benefit greatly from being able to recoup the economic damage from the pandemic.

“I think the biggest thing is that it gives us the opportunity to replace any lost revenue that we would have otherwise gained during the COVID period,” Healy said Friday. “Lost expected B&O tax revenue due to businesses being closed, the lost retail municipal sales tax due to places being closed, the lost revenue our parks and rec department saw from canceled events, shelters, and parties — those are all things we saw a loss of revenue in, and are still somewhat seeing.”

The assessment for how much funding Moundsville had lost, and stands to recoup, would be through comparing budgeted revenue compared to actual revenue, Healy said. He said the work to assess this could “probably” be mostly accomplished in-house. Healy also said the city may be able to seek remedy of “any other economic impacts,” which granted a broad scope for economic relief.

Mayor David Wood said after the meeting that he was looking forward to the city taking advantage of the opportunity.

“I’m all for it,” Wood said. “No matter what, in each city, there’s been expense in each municipality in one way or another. Talking about monies flowing into the city, I think it would be welcome and the right thing to do.”

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