Williams Proposes COVID-19 Relief Package

Huntington - Mayor Steve Williams announced Wednesday the proposal of a tax and fee relief package to help all city residents, retail shops and restaurants weather the financial fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus panic.

The Huntington COVID-19 Relief Package that Williams will introduce to City Council members as the first reading of an ordinance at the March 23, 2020, meeting will eliminate the refuse fee for all residents and the Business and Occupation Tax for retail establishments and restaurants for the next three months (April, May and June). Williams added that weekly household garbage service will continue on a regular basis.

“Our residents and local businesses are why Huntington is such a vibrant community,” Williams said in a press release. “My administration has been continually looking at ways that we can provide some relief to them as they weather this storm of uncertainty from the COVID-19 outbreak."

"There are many more days of uncertainty ahead, but I want our residents and local business owners to know that we are all in this together and we are going to do whatever it takes to help them through it,” he added.

"During the past three years, City Council has worked in partnership with Mayor Williams to position our city budget so that it is resilient to emergency situations,” City Council Chairman Mark Bates said. “In addition to the health risks that the COVID-19 outbreak poses, many of our residents and business owners’ livelihoods are at stake. We must do everything to protect them.”

In addition to Mayor Williams’ proposal to eliminate the B&O tax during the next three months for retail shops and restaurants, the Municipal Parking Board has been working with downtown businesses on parking accommodations for those who are adjusting to curbside service. 

“No one has seen anything like this virus, and we are truly taking it day by day,” said Mackenzie Morley, owner of Kenzington Alley and marketing director for CJ Hughes Construction. “Small business owners are truly grateful for any aid and support right now. We care about our businesses, we care about our people and we care about our communities. Having the city’s support means more than we can express.”

“On behalf of the membership of Huntington Regional Chamber, we thank Mayor Williams, Chairman Bates and everyone involved in supporting Huntington’s business community during this difficult time,” said Bill Bissett, president and CEO of the Huntington Regional Chamber. “While we must make the necessary preparations to protect ourselves from this virus, we must also do what we can to help our fellow West Virginians not only remain healthy, but also maintain their livelihood. This tax relief is well timed and will hopefully play a role in many of our restaurants and shops weathering this health crisis and holding on until our economy rebounds.”

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