CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston City Council members created an account for the money from the city's new 0.5 percent sales tax, and the revenue from that tax will start coming in February, city Finance Director Joe Estep told council members Monday.
Businesses in city limits began charging the tax in October, at the same time city officials removed the business and occupation tax on manufacturing in the city.
By placing the sales tax revenue in a separate fund -- the first of its kind for the city, according to City Manager David Molgaard -- Charleston will pay off bonds issued for renovations to the Civic Center.
Once its annual financial obligation is fulfilled, council members could move what is left over to the general revenue fund.
"We can do that without there being any ambiguity as to whether these are general funds," Molgaard said.
Molgaard said the city is conducting interviews this week for a design consultant for the Civic Center's upgrades.
In other business, Mayor Danny Jones said he's going to Washington, D.C., today<co tues> to discuss Charleston's Amtrak service with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Jones said service in Charleston has gone from three trains a day in the 1950s to three trains per week.
"I'm going to tell him about the fact that the trains are packed all the time, and they still lose money," Jones said. "They always will."
* The Metro Drug Enforcement Network Team received a federal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area grant totaling $148,000.
The grant will provide $102,000 for six Charleston Police Department officers to serve on MDENT; $17,000 to assign one officer to the Drug Enforcement Administration; $25,000 to spend on evidence and information; and $4,800 for the use of a vehicle.
The HIDTA program helps police in areas designated "critical drug trafficking regions," according to the U.S. Office of National Drug Policy website.
* City officials tried to allay Councilman Cubert Smith's concerns what he called dumping by West Virginia American Water at a site on Milton Street.