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Property transfer tax to go up in Belmont County

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The fee for property sales will get boosted next year, since the Belmont County Board of Commissioners intends to increase the county’s real property and manufactured home transfer tax from $3 per $1,000 of the sale price to $4 per $1,000.

The board scheduled two public hearings during its upcoming meetings at 9 a.m. Dec. 14 and 21.

The board made the announcement Tuesday, during a weekly meeting that was rescheduled from the normal Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Commissioner Josh Meyer said the amount had not been raised since the 1970s. Ohio Revised Code mandates a $1 fee, to be given to the state, with any additional tax going to the county. The maximum is $4, with $3 going to Belmont County.

“It’s a mandated fee by the state, and the counties can add an additional $3,” Meyer said.

“If you’re selling your property, you’re going to pay the conveyance fee — the individual selling it will be,” Auditor Cindi Henry said. “It was $1.10 per $1,000 from 1968-1972. At 1972 they increased it from $1 to $3.”

Henry said the fee normally raises about $200,000 a year. The new fee will take effect in 2023.

“We have to do a breakdown of the report of how much we take in, how much is mandatory, how much is ours and send that into the state annually,” she said.

In other matters, the commissioners approved the purchase of a Dell PowerEdge Virtual Server for the auditor’s office, along with one Sonicwall Next Generation Firewall and accessories for the auditor’s office.

“We’re replacing a server in the auditor’s office. It’s pretty much filled to capacity right now,” Meyer said.

“My office is in dire need of a server. We’re on an old software that requires a server. We can’t take our information to the cloud because the software’s too old, so we have worked with Digital Date to start fixing this problem. Because we currently have three servers and all three of them cannot be updated or fixed and we ran out of room last year when we tried to roll our books and had to dump a lot of old information out of the one server to get to the new one, to be able to move our documents and secure them,” Henry said. “They’re five years old and they only have a lifespan of four years.”

Guests included Richard Hord of Martins Ferry, who commented on last week’s “devastating fire” at Wilson Furniture Store in Bridgeport and the damage to the 124-year-old business.

“It was a huge, huge fire down there, a long-standing business in the community, a well-known business,” Meyer responded. “Hopefully it can adjust and get things taken care of. … It’s an unfortunate thing. Hopefully they can recover from it and continue to utilize that business.”

Hord also asked about the timetable for removing asbestos from the unused county habitation center as a prelude to tearing the building down. Meyer said asbestos abatement could begin next month. Meyer said he did not know if work would continue through the holidays.

“We’ve shifted our plans away from putting a records center down there at this point in time,” Meyer said. “We’ll continue to assess things. … Hopefully early next year is when I think that building will be demo’d.”

Another guest was Jim Morrison of Otto Road in Jacobsburg. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, he spoke about the progress of water service to the several families residing on the road.

“I wanted to thank everybody again for all the effort and time and money or just the thoughts,” Morrison said. “It’s made a world of difference. … Enjoy the holiday. I’m going to enjoy the water.”

The project was made possible through funding from the state. Belomar Regional Council is doing the work.

The commissioners also accepted a donation of $1,000 from the St. Clairsville American Legion to Belmont County Senior Services and thanked the veterans of the American Legion.

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