Although Charleston Council passed a measure creating a half-cent sales tax on Monday, the city will likely not see any revenue until the first quarter of 2014.
That is because the mechanism for collecting the tax is created by the West Virginia Tax Commissioner, City Manager David Molgaard said.
It will take the state agency several weeks to create the mechanism for collection, and notify the vendors in Charleston and around the state, City Attorney Paul Ellis said.
Therefore, vendors will likely not begin collecting the tax until October, Molgaard said. And then the state tax office will not immediately begin distributing the funds to the city, he said.
"If the vendors start collecting on Oct. 1, we'll probably see some revenue by February or March," Ellis said.
Mayor Danny Jones pushed for the measure to generate money to pay for $35 million to $60 million in renovations to the aging Charleston Civic Center. He hopes to make the Civic Center a state-of-the-art convention center to attract more and bigger events to the city.
However, the issue did not come without some fighting among the council.
Councilman Robert Sheets cast the lone vote against the measure. Sheets, an East End Democrat, has opposed the sales tax, which is expected to gross about $6 million annually, since it was first proposed.
"A sales tax is the most regressive tax that is put upon people," Sheets said.
Jones said opponents have failed to put forth a viable plan to fund Civic Center renovations.
Sheets has suggested bake sales and bingo and raffle events to fund the measure. He has also proposed an increase in the hotel/motel sales tax.
Jones questioned Council Member Edward Talkington, a West Side Democrat, about Sheets' proposals. Talkington spoke out in support of the measure during the meeting.
"Would you believe me if I said bake sales won't pay for this Civic Center?" Jones emphatically asked Talkington.
Talkington said the needed funds greatly exceed the amount of money the city could raise through bakes sales and bingo.
Talkington added that the city could not increase the hotel/motel tax without legislative approval, which was not guaranteed.
"We have very limited choices on how to raise money," he said.