CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston city officials say the effort to raise money for renovations at the Charleston Civic Center is moving along slightly ahead of schedule.
The revenues are generated through two different taxes; a special .5 percent sales tax and a TIFF tax on property in a designated downtown zone are earmarked for the project.
Through five months the TIFF collections produced $215,000. The sales tax collections through five months generated $2.8 million.
“That’s slightly ahead of what I had anticipated,” said Charleston Finance Director Joe Estep. “The first collection came in and because of the timing it was for two months and it was a million dollars. The second one cover December, January, and February and it was 1.8 million.”
The second collection of the sales tax included the always lucrative Christmas shopping season.
Estep estimated the taxes would generate about $5.7 million annually. He says the rate so far is slightly ahead of that. The difference may be in the state’s fee for the collection service. Currently, the state Tax Department keeps one percent of the collection, but by law they could keep up to five percent. Estep said his original estimate was based on the five percent deduction.
The first expenditures on the project were recently dispensed.
O’Dell Associates, a firm hired to help with the design and search for a contractor on the job, was paid $65,000. City officials have roughly estimated the cost of the Civic Center renovation project will be around $50 million.