UPDATE: Parkersburg User Fee Three Years Later

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UPDATE 3/3/2014 11:00 AM

It's something we don't hear much about anymore but whether you're thinking about it or not, if you're working in Parkersburg, you pay it.

It's been three years since Parkersburg enacted the user fee - a $2.50 tax paid by anyone working within city limits.

Mayor Bob Newell says he never wants to raise taxes, even calling it "a horrible fee", but during the recession, among other strains on the city's budget, it became necessary.

And he says Parkersburg's a better place because of it.

Newell says next on the list is snow plows.

One of the biggest criticisms of the bill is that fact that everyone pays the same amount no matter their income.

Newell says he understands, but a tax based on wages is considered an income tax and that's something West Virginia law doesn't allow cities to have.

Like it or not, the user fee is officially in effect as of March 1st.

One local organization says their concern is for the businesses that could end up suffering as a result of the fee.

"I know it seems to be an accounting nightmare for most of the businesses that I have talked to," says Parkersburg Tea Party President, Sandy Staats. "They have a lot of problems. I've even heard at some businesses they're charging employees and extra 50 cents for processing."

Although a lot of businesses declined to speak on camera, one business owner says it's where the money is going that concerns him.

"The user fee seems to be a necessity for the infrastructure and I hope that's where this money will go into," says J.R. Carpenter, owner of Crystal Cafe. "Instead of going into a general fund for general use. I would like to see it used for the sewers and infrastructure in Parkersburg."

It may take as many as 60 days for the city to see the effects of the user fee. This is due to the fact that the fee is collected at the end of the month and businesses have a month to comply. The Tea Party says they won't wait to see the fee, and those in favor of it, removed.

"We're just going on with the recall. The weather is starting to break and we're getting some more people out on the streets, collecting more signatures," Staats adds. "This Friday we have a recall mobile scheduled from 5-8 at the Kmart on the south side and there's probably close to 100 businesses and individuals out there collecting signatures. Seems like everyday a new person or business calls and wants to help."

But for now, the fee stands.

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