MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The draft Morgantown 2024–25 budget was presented to city council and got the first official vote at their next regular meeting on Tuesday, March 5.

Kevin Tennant, Morgantown finance director told councilors the total general fund budget is $45,031,858 for the 2024–25 budget, up from $43,031,447 the year before.

“Revenues remain strong; I don’t want to give that indication, but they have flattened out a little bit,” Tennant said. “So, it seemed like we were trying a little harder to allocate these revenues to areas we thought we needed.”

There is an 8.2 percent increase in the Class & Comp plan, which is a step increase for longevity that varies based on time of service. Tennant said there will be a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for employees and acknowledged the inflation rate leading up to this budget year was 3.4 percent.

“We’re proposing a 2-percent COLA that amounts to a $320,000 increase in salaries, taxes, and pension contributions,” Tennant said.

The $3 Municipal Service Fee (MSF) is expected to generate $4.2 million in revenue, up from $4.1 million in the prior budget year.

“From that, $2.4 million will go to the Capitol Escrow Fund for right-of-way improvements and equipment purchases for police and streets,” Tennant said. “The remaining $1.8 million will stay in the General Fund to cover police and street salaries.”

The city expects to collect $4,675,000 in property tax revenue and $4,125,500 in municipal fire fees.

The hotel occupancy tax is budgeted to bring in $1.2 million, and the beer and wine tax is about $845,000, both rebounding to near pre-coronavirus levels.

The city municipal sales tax is expected to generate $9.6 million that will be distributed equally between the Capitol Escrow Fund, BOPARC, the General Fund, and the retirement fund.

Business and occupation construction revenue won’t be as strong as previous years at $1.5 million, but general business and occupation tax revenue is robust, according to Tennant.

Department heads with the city had requested as many as nine new positions in city government, but that was trimmed to three. A zoning coordinator and GIS manager will be funded from the general fund, and a new Fixed Base Operator (FBO) is planned for the airport.

American Rescue Plan dollars are running out, Tennant told council members. The two city ambassadors and a marketing coordinator will use the remaining allotment of ARPA money that will dry up this fiscal year, and the street outreach coordinator will have one year of funding remaining.

“Revenues have flattened out and the goal,” Tennant told council members. “I think the goal for this year and going forward is to closely monitor expenses and controlling expenses so we don’t start growing faster than our revenues will allow.”