Randolph County Commission says county would lose out on Elkins tax plan

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:59 PM EST
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ELKINS, W.Va (WDTV) - The Randolph County Commission is at odds with the Elkins City Council.

In its meeting Thursday, the commission voiced concerns with the city council’s pursuit of a new way to tax the city, called Tax Increment Financing, or TIF.

It allows the city to tax on future property revenues for the next 30 years, but the commission said the county is being left out on much of that potential tax revenue.

A key part of the argument is the county purchased a plot of land that isn’t currently taxable and that the county plans to develop.

But, it’s now designated to be taxed under TIF, and commissioners said the city would be getting that money.

Commissioner David Kesling said TIF would lock the county out of any future taxes there for the next 30 years.

“It’s not fair for the City of Elkins to take future tax revenue from the county to pay for their projects when that money should go to help the whole county because it’s not their money to begin with,” Kesling said.

The commission opted to pen a letter to the state’s Economic Development Board to raise its concerns, those being the city already has a means for projects through a sales tax and the county has already invested into some of these projects they say the city is now co-opting.

One resident in favor of the TIF said this is a policy that could benefit people outside the city as well for years to come.

“I guess the thing is there hasn’t been a lot of change. I think that this TIF will provide the opportunity to invest in ourselves in some improvement that we haven’t been able to see over the past years,” said Elkins resident Craig Fortney.

Commissioner Kesling said the way a TIF is currently legislated does not allow the county to have sufficient input, and the city can still vote to put one in effect.