Keyser to target out-of-town businesses with no city license

December 18, 2018
Keyser, WV

By Liz Beavers | [email protected] | Tribune Managing Editor

KEYSER - Out-of-town vendors who do business within the Keyser city limits will soon be asked to purchase a city business license and pay B&O taxes just like those businesses located in the city.

The Keyser City Council voted this week to contract with a company called Datamax to help identify those businesses that are coming into the city to sell merchandise or services but are not licensed to do so.

According to city ordinances, any business or individual doing business within the city limits must: 1. Obtain a business license and 2. Pay a Business and Occupation tax of 25 cents per $100.

According to city administrator Buck Eagle, “there is no cash outlay on the part of the city” to contract with the company to seek out those businesses not complying with the ordinances.

“Any businesses they identify and collect B&O tax ... Datamax gets half and we get half for two years. After that, the city gets 100 percent,” he said.

Council member Eric Murphy called the proposal “a good move forward.“

Council member Terry Liller said he agreed with the proposal, but also wondered if the officials wouldn’t get some criticism for splitting the taxes with the company.

“The citizens of Keyser, who we represent, could come to us and say that (money) belongs to the city,” he said.

Council member Jennifer Junkins, however, questioned how splitting the money with the company would be any different than paying a city employee to do the investigation.

The officials said they believe there are a lot of out-of-town businesses out there who “know they should have a license ... but have been getting away with it.“

Eagle was asked to contact some of the other municipalities to see how satisfied they have been with the program, and Murphy made a motion to contract with Datamax to pursue the businesses ... pending a positive response from those other cities.

Finance commissioner Mike Ryan seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.