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Town to impose sales tax

By Staff | Jun 16, 2017

Shepherdstown will join approximately 37 other municipalities across the state who have chosen to impose an additional sales tax within their corporate limits. Beginning July 1 of this year, sales tax within the municipal boundaries of Shepherdstown will increase to 7 percent.

Shepherdstown joins the other Jefferson County municipalities of Charles Town, Ranson, Bolivar and Harpers Ferry that have all already added the municipal tax.

At Tuesday evening’s council meeting, Matt Irby, Tax Account Administration Division director from Charleston, gave a brief overview on how the tax works.

“Who’s subject to the tax? Everyone” he said.

Anyone who sells goods or services in the municipality must collect the tax.

“Wherever sales tax is collected, the municipal tax must be collected,” Irby said.

He explained that “sourcing” is what determines whether the tax is imposed. For example, if a consumer buys something that is delivered outside of Shepherdstown, that consumer does not pay the additional one percent.

“Where they take possession of goods or services determines if they pay the tax,” Irby explained.

If a vendor outside of the municipal limits sells and delivers within the town limits, that sale then falls under the additional tax.

He answered several questions explaining that gasoline, utilities and the like are not subject to the additional tax because the state sales tax is not imposed on such goods.

The town is hopeful that the additional revenue will offset some of the decline in video lottery money that has continued to decrease each year since the addition of gaming in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

In other council business, the council voted to again attend an upcoming auction on June 20 at which time the Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill will be sold. The mill was to be on the auction block last month, but the auction was canceled.

Rescheduled for West Virginia Day, the auction will see the council place a bid on the property based upon parameters determined in executive session prior to the last scheduled auction date.

The council also heard from several supporters of the public library hoping the town will increase their allocation toward the library’s annual budget. The town currently gives the library $900 per month, or a little over $10,000 annually. In addition, the library is housed in a town-owned building.

With ever continuing increases in expenses as well as the look toward moving to a new library site, the library’s Board of Directors has sought an increase from all funding sources. They received increases within the past few years from the County Commission and the Board of Education.

Councilman Jim Ford expressed his opinion that the county should be fully funding the library because it is used by county residents and not solely town residents.

“We’re already paying at the county level. We shouldn’t have to pay again,” Ford admonished.

No action was taken on the library’s request. Instead, it was referred back to the town Finance Committee to evaluate actual costs before making any decision.