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Huntington City Hall is shown on May 4, 2020.

HUNTINGTON — An ordinance that would permanently repeal the business and occupation tax for retail businesses and restaurants is on the agenda for Monday night’s Huntington City Council meeting.

The ordinance is up for a second reading, meaning council members can vote on the resolution. The motion has been discussed at a previous City Council meeting and in an Administration and Finance Committee meeting.

The B&O tax has been suspended for about a year-and-a-half amid the coronavirus pandemic. The revenue loss from the tax is about $2 million annually, or $500,000 per quarter.

Mayor Steve Williams presented the idea to the committee in August. There he said the tax suspension had been “highly successful for us.” He added that although the city would lose a steady revenue stream, the city would gain an ideal “competitive advantage.”

“A permanent repeal of the B&O tax for our retail stores and restaurants not only provides economic relief to some of our businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, it also gives Huntington an economic advantage in our ongoing efforts to attract businesses to our community,” Williams previously said in a statement to The Herald-Dispatch.

The city’s 1% municipal sales and service and use tax offsets the reduction of revenue from the B&O tax and, for fiscal year 2021, the sales tax revenue exceeded the city’s budget expectations by almost $2 million, the mayor said.

“For these reasons, I feel very comfortable moving forward with the permanent repeal of the business and occupation tax for retail stores and restaurants in Huntington, which is something we already have been doing on a temporary basis since April 1, 2020,” he said.

City Council meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, in City Hall. A work session of council begins at 7:15 p.m.

McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch, covering local government in Huntington and Cabell County. Follow her on Twitter @Mckennahorsley.

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