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Authorities to transfer excess levy to county

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A portion of the excess levy that raises tax revenue for the Kanawha Valley Regional Transportation Authority and the Kanawha County Ambulance Authority was misdirected, and those agencies will need to transfer nearly $1 million back to the county.

Fortunately, the situation should not adversely affect the budgets of those agencies, said Kanawha County Deputy Manager and Comptroller Dave Fontalbert.

The excess levy, which was last renewed in 2011, is divided into four parts. The first part, a $500,000 annual sum, is to be allocated for emergency services in the county.

Of the remainder, KRT and the ambulance authority receive 47.5 percent each. The final 5 percent is designated for public safety purposes.

The $500,000 for emergency services was supposed to be taken from the collected taxes before any of the funds were distributed to the other three agencies.

That didn't happen, Fontalbert said.

Because of the error, KRT and the ambulance authority have received an extra $500,000 each over the past two years.

"It is for sure, they did not withhold the money," said Denny Dawson, general manager for the transportation authority, told the KRT board at its monthly meeting on Wednesday.

The county caught the problem a few months ago, Fontalbert said.

The KRT and ambulance authority wouldn't have known they received too much money, because the amount of property tax collected varies from year to year.

Fontalbert said the agencies don't budget for arrears, which are late property tax payments, and he said the arrears should cover much of the misallocated money.

"They shouldn't have to change their budget at all," Fontalbert said.

Dawson told the KRT board that any money that ends up needing to be transferred from that agency will come out of the fund that KRT uses to buy new buses. Vehicles already ordered by KRT will not be affected.

"It just fell through the cracks," Dawson said. "We understand what happened. There's nobody that needs to be put in stocks."

Fontalbert said he has been meeting with both agencies to reduce the impact on their budgets. He expects the entire situation to be remedied by the end of the year.

The ambulance authority will discuss how it is dealing with the situation at its monthly board meeting Friday.

In other business, the KRT board:

* Approved re-hiring the Gibbons & Kawash accounting firm to conduct the authority's annual audit at a cost of just over $23,000. The audit is required by the state.

* Approved a new labor contract with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1742 for the upcoming fiscal year. The contract deals with uniform and wage increases as well as increases to the transit authority's pension plan.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at or 304-348-4817.

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