MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown City Council has approved the city levy rates for Fiscal Year 2025 and has officially approved the amended Private Outdoor Designated Area (PODA) ordinance into city code.

Levy rates for Class I, II, and IV real estate, public utilities, and personal property were unanimously approved by the council, which is projected to give the city approximately $5.3 million in combined levy revenues. City of Morgantown Finance Director Kevin Tennant announced rates of $.125 per $100 for Class I properties, $.25 per $100 for Class II properties, and $.50 per $100 for Class IV properties. This will also complete the FY25 budget, which was allocated at approximately $45.03 million.

“This is the final step of the 2024-25 general fund budget, it will officially set the rates for the July 1 property taxes,” said Tennant in his presentation to the council during their regular meeting Tuesday.

According to the rate sheet released by the city, the majority of the projected levy revenues will come from Class IV properties, where the city expects to receive approximately $4.03 million. Class II properties are expected to bring in approximately $1.27 million in levy revenues, no money is projected to be received from Class I properties. With the council’s approval and the rates already approved on a state level, Tennant reported tax implementations will begin as scheduled to start in Fiscal Year 2025.

“These rates were used to determine the property tax revenue that’s already been approved, it has went to the state (for approval), this is just the official laying of the levy,” said Tennant.

The second reading of the PODA ordinance that was approved unanimously officially implements changes that were made on a state level during the 2024 legislative session. This includes changes that make standards for participating businesses uniform within Downtown Morgantown or the Wharf District to participate in the zone that allows patrons to be served alcohol outdoors. The amended ordinance does not change the requirements for those who purchase a city-approved cup to be allowed to carry said beverage within PODA-approved zones. It also removes the mandatory signature of a joint liability agreement that would’ve held anyone who participated in the PODA liable in the event of an alcohol violation. Kay, Casto, and Cheney attorney representing the city, Ryan Simonton, told the council that, with the approval, the ordinance will now be submitted to the State Alcohol and Beverage Control Administration before it can be enacted.

“Private Outdoor Designated Area ordinance just tracks state law, beer is permitted as well as other drinks in the districts,” said Simonton. “With the council’s adoption of that ordinance, we’ll submit it to ABCA for review,” he said.

Mandated PODA operating hours scheduled for Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends remained unchanged as part of the amended ordinance.

Approval of the second reading of the PODA ordinance by the council will allow for the implementation of the economic initiative by May of this year. Simonton also reported that businesses that wish to participate in the PODA zone will now be able to submit applications to the city approved PODA permit review board, with a deadline set for April 30, when the review board is scheduled to meet. If all goes as planned, Morgantown residents and patrons around Downtown Morgantown and the Wharf District will be able to take advantage of businesses offering the PODA before the start of the summer.

“That committee will first meet to review those applications on April 30, with the districts starting to begin operations on May 15,” Simonton said.

The PODA Permit Review Board will consist of Morgantown business owners, representatives of Main Street Morgantown, and the City of Morgantown.