Moundsville Leaving Residenital Stormwater Rates Unchanged
A proposed change to stormwater rates for some rented residences in town was nipped in the bud, after a plea from a resident who said the increase would affect renters and landlords disproportionately.
Moundsville’s council was set to have its first reading of an ordinance which would raise the stormwater fee for single-family residential rental units from $5 a month to $7.50; the ordinance would also raise rates for commercial properties, such as businesses. However, after a renter spoke out against raising the fee during the public comment period, the ordinance was amended to eliminate the rental property rate increase, leaving only the commercial property increase. The ordinance passed its first reading Tuesday evening.
At the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting, resident Dave Rickman asked council to reconsider the raise to the rate, perhaps to spread the rate increase across all residents, rather than focusing on renters and landlords, many of whom are on a fixed income.
“It says it’s going up from $5 a month to $7.50, for the people who can afford it the least,” Rickman said. “I rent a lot of property. People struggle. Three-fourths of my people are on fixed income, and for them to bear the brunt of it?
“You want to bill me, and pass it onto (the renters), wanting to make me the tax collector for it, which means I have to pay (Business and Occupation) tax on that money, I have to pay state and federal tax on that money. I can’t just increase it to $7.50, I have to increase it more to give a fair share to everybody,” he continued.
City Manager Rick Healy said the commercial property stormwater rate would increase from a flat fee of $12.50 per month, to $12.50 plus 50 cents per thousand square feet of impermeable surface over 4,000 square feet. This increase will go into effect July 1, and the rate will be increased an additional 50 cents July 1, 2022.
“There were a lot of questions as to whether single-family residential rental units were considered business or not — the stormwater board said yes, they were, but council chose not to include that,” Healy said.
In other council business, two Tenth Street residents also approached council to ask for help assisting a neighbor whose home had become a hazard. Neither person who approached council wanted the man removed from his house, but instead asked for assistance exterminating vermin from the property, which had begun to spread to neighboring homes.
One man said the resident frequently sits on his front porch, but a recent storm had damaged the property and could have injured the man had he been outside at the time, or a bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Healy said the city was aware of the condition of the property and had begun making inquiries as to what assistance could be given to the homeowner in maintaining the house.
“I don’t know what his financial state is, but if we could do some upgrades to his house, some lawn care done, we’d appreciate it,” said Duke Cuskey.
Resident Mark Clay thanked council member Ginger DeWitt for working with local residents concerning the property, and hoped that someone would be able to fix up the dilapidated property before someone got hurt.
“We do not want him out of the neighborhood, that is not why we’re here,” Clay said. “We just want someone to step up and take care of his property, because he’s not able to, at all. We understand he’s not able to do that.”