Council approves franchise tax addition

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

By Haley Schichtl

The Berryville city council on Tuesday approved an addition to an ordinance allowing Black Hills Energy to collect utility franchise taxes from industrial and transport customers.

The ordinance allows the company to collect taxes from residential and commercial customers at a 4 percent rate, and now includes industrial and transport customers at a 3 percent rate.

“Our old franchise, they didn’t have that many classes of customers, just residential and commercial,” Mayor Tim McKinney said. “When we sent the ordinance to them, they pointed out that they changed their classifications of customers and wanted us to add these.”

Also at the meeting, the council decided to table an ordinance proposed by the Berryville Planning Commission to limit the use of portable storage freight containers for moving purposes to 10 days in residential zones.

Council member Jason Williams expressed some concern with the ordinance.

“I’m afraid we might need to give them a little more leeway into that temporary use,” Williams said. “To have enough time to get moved into a new location.”

McKinney said they would look at extending the amount of time the containers are allowed to be used.

Administrative assistant Jay Lee said there are a couple cases in town where people are using portable containers as permanent storage.

“Their main concern is that they’re just going to start popping up everywhere,” Lee said.

Williams said he thinks 30 days might be a more appropriate length of time to allow the containers to be used.

The council approved the ordinance with a proposed amendment to extend the usage time for the Planning Commission to review.

In other business, the council approved the continuance of a one-half percent sales and use tax for state, county and city roads and bridges. McKinney said the county gets over $500,000 annually in these taxes, which helps the road system greatly.

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 17 in City Hall.

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