CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nitro might soon see new development behind the existing Nitro Marketplace, city council learned Tuesday.
Jarrod Bowles, a real estate agent with Old Colony Realtors, said a parcel behind the existing shopping center is on the market with a price tag of $6 million. He said proposed plans for development at the site already exist, and include both commercial and residential development.
"This particular layout has been at city hall for several years," he said.
The parcel totals 116 acres, but Bowles called it "severely sloped." Therefore, in order for development to occur, the new owner would need to invest $5 million to $7 million to make the property more level.
The result? A 45-acre level parcel poised for prime development, Bowles said.
"There's a lot of room on top of the hill," he said.
Bowles said details about the property and plans are confidential for now, but he and Mayor Dave Casebolt wanted to make council aware of the opportunity.
"I'd be very excited about it," Casebolt said.
Part of the incentive for development could involve tax breaks from the city -- something council would need to approve if plans come through.
The existing Nitro Marketplace, owned by THF Realty, has had tax breaks since its development in the mid-1990s. Currently, 80 percent of business and occupation taxes collected at the property go to THF, and 20 percent goes to Nitro. That deal was struck in 2008 and expires in 2017.
Council members said they liked the idea, but wanted to make sure they chose the best incentives for both development and for the city.
"I think those we need to explore this carefully," Councilman John Montgomery said.
Councilman Bill Racer said he wanted to make sure drainage issues are also addressed, citing issues with other development in the past.
In other business, council:
* Discussed delinquent revenue due the city. Treasurer John Young said in particular, residents and businesses are not paying the municipal service fee. Over $29,000 is owed to the city in municipal service fees, he said.
"A lot of people aren't paying it," he said.
Casebolt said in addition to people simply not paying the tax, the city hasn't been double-checking accounts to see if the fee should even be levied. He said the city had billed deceased individuals as well as businesses no longer operating, which are a small number of the owed fees.
"We're taking a lot of action," he said. "It's not a new problem."
Young said many of the delinquent accounts owe between $400 and $500. He said those amounts created a problem because they are significant to the city, but too small for a collection agency to deal with.
"It's creeping up on us," he said. "I just don't know of a good solution for it. We don't have any teeth on our collections."
Young did say that the city-provided trash bags have been an incentive for some people to pay up. He said about 10 to 15 people have paid hundreds of dollars in owed taxes to get the city-provided trash bags.
Residents are required to be caught up on fee payments to get the bags.
* Approved the purchase of a $10,000 used wood chipper for the city.
Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Mur...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.