CHESTER-Chester city officials want a slice of the hotel occupancy tax pie.
On Monday, Chester City Council gave a first reading to an ordinance drafted by City Clerk Sandra Parkins that would enable the city to collect on the state's 6 percent hotel-motel occupancy tax.
Mayor Ken Morris was quick to add that the ordinance does not involve a tax increase. "It's just diverting some of the tax revenue to us," he said. "Right now, we get nothing from it."
Hotel tax revenues in Hancock County are split evenly between the county commissioners, for parks and recreation purposes, and the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), for the promotion of tourism.
With the ordinance, Chester would be able to collect net revenues after the 50 percent earmarked for the CVB and use it for eight purposes permitted by statute-promotion of conventions, promotion of the arts, historic sites and beautification projects, among others.
The ordinance would apply only to hotels and motels within the city limits, including the Andrews Motel on Ohio River Boulevard and the inn that is being developed at the historic C.A. Smith house, Morris said.
Also Monday, council:
* Approved police Chief Ken Thorn's recommendation to name Patrolman Dante DiJirolanio as the police department's new lieutenant. DiJirolanio, on the force for five years, has been acting lieutenant since Dec. 2. He succeeds police Lt. James Bryan, who retired this past summer.
* Authorized Thorn to purchase four Tasers for the police department, at an estimated cost of $4,980. Thorn said the department's Tasers are getting old, and two are no longer working. Each new Taser comes with a four-year warranty.
* Agreed to assess the feasibility of repainting the city's street light poles. Not all of the 54 poles need to be repainted, but many of them have been damaged by road salt and are "looking pretty ratty," Morris said.
City officials want to determine whether most of the work, with the exception of sandblasting, can be done in-house by the street department.