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Halifax budget rises, but tax rates stay same

SoVaNow.com / March 13, 2014
By a unanimous vote, Halifax Council on Tuesday night approved an amended town budget that is 13 percent higher than prior anticipated spending levels. The budget will go from $1,406,354 to $1,593,777.

Most of the change comes from a VDOT grant for the Banister River Gateway Project. In addition to the grant funding, the town anticipates slightly higher revenues from law enforcement funds, fire funds, personal property taxes, the meals tax and business license fees.

On the expense side, the budget anticipates an increase of $9,000 for the fire department and furthers accounts for an earlier payment on the town’s new trash truck (in this fiscal year prior to the end of June) and the earlier first payment on the new police cars. Repair expenses to the municipal building, including an ADA compliant bathroom, also were increased. However, nothing in the amended budget affects tax rates paid by residents of the town. All rates will stay the same as the current year rates.

In other business, Council approved the recommendation of the Halifax County Service Authority to appoint Kathy Bane to represent the Town on the Authority, taking over the seat of retiring member Frank Wray.

Members also set a public hearing focusing on interim financing for the Banister River Gateway Project at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening, March 26 prior to the meeting of the Town’s Planning Commission.

Earlier in the work session Council heard more plans for the upcoming Halicraft Art Festival set for April 5 and the April 26 Earth Day celebration.

They also heard from Town Manager Carl Espy about plans to ask the highway department to look at taking into VDOT’s secondary road system the Cemetery Access Road that veers off Gatha’s Trail and leads to the church cemetery. Council has been working with members of the churches to get the road, which is used a great deal oftentimes in bad weather, improved.

Council also received a report from Otis Vaughan, director of General Properties for Halifax County, about the lack of work that has been carried out on several properties which the Town had earlier cited for violations of the Town Code.

Mayor Dick Moore also advised Council members of his research into the cost of leave collection in the Town. He presented three options, the cost of purchasing a truck, the cost of converting the Town’s old trash truck and the cost of hiring a private contractor to pick up the leaves. Moore suggested that Council members look at the figures and discuss the matter at a later date.

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