Beginning in October, West Virginia University will make a voluntary contribution to Monongalia County equal to any would-be property taxes from private commercial establishments operating on University property for activities that are not a critical part of or integral to serving the academic needs of the students. Initially, the total could exceed $175,000 annually.
Under an agreement unanimously approved today (Aug. 25) by the Monongalia County Commission, the county tax assessor will review space in several public-private partnership buildings on campus, and determine the amount of property tax that would be paid if they were on private property. The University will then collect that amount from the vendor, and turn it over to the county.
The county will then divide the revenue just as if it were tax payments, meaning other agencies, including the Board of Education, will receive their normal percentage.
“This is a 50-year master agreement with the county and will govern how the University will operate on public-private developments going forward,” said Rob Alsop, WVU vice president for legal, government, and entrepreneurial engagement.
“We have heard the community’s concerns regarding certain of our lease arrangements with private parties on our campus, and believe this is a fair and equitable solution and continues our strong collaborations with local government,” Alsop said.
He also noted that the payments generated by the private businesses inside Evansdale Crossing – estimated to be about $20,000 annually at current rates – represent brand new revenue to the county as the property is on WVU’s campus and as such are non-taxable.
“I believe this is a positive step forward for our community and the collaborative relationship that’s been developed between the county and WVU over the past few years,” County Commission President Eldon A. Callen said, citing other recent projects such as Monongalia County Ball Park.
“I praise President Gordon Gee and WVU for the foresight in trying to work out a solution that will benefit all the citizens of the county and WVU in the long run,” he said. “This is one further step cementing a very positive relationship between the community and WVU.”
Initially, the areas involved include Suncrest Center on Van Voorhis Road (which includes Applebee’s restaurant), Evansdale Crossing, the new cafeteria at the Health Sciences Center and the University Place Parking Garage on University Avenue.
The voluntary contributions add to the millions generated in tax revenue for state and local governments through the approximately $1 billion in acquisition and construction at WVU in the last several years.
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