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Halifax County supervisors gather to set tax rates / April 02, 2018
Halifax County Supervisors will meet tonight to set tax rates for the coming year — with no increases in real estate, personal property or machinery and tools taxes in the offing.

As they prepare a budget for the new fiscal year, supervisors earlier considered a one-cent hike in the county’s 48 cent real estate tax rate. However, after advertising the proposed increase, supervisors fielded complaints at a public hearing and sent the matter to their finance committee for further review.

The new proposal by the finance committee calls for leaving the 48-cent real estate rate untouched, while raising the county’s refuse fee from $50 to $75 annually.

The local personal property tax rate will remain at $3.85 per $100 value, and the machinery and tools tax will stay at $1.26 per $100 value.

The recommendation to increase the refuse fee came after several residents suggested doing so rather than raise real estate taxes. The fee increase cannot be approved until a new public hearing on the plan is held at the board’s May 7 meeting.

If the increase is approved, the county expects to reap an additional $337,500 in revenue, which will help to cover the gap between the actual cost of operating the county’s trash collection center and convenience centers, and the amount of revenue collected through the refuse fee and the sale of recycled materials.

The county’s trash disposal costs are estimated at around $1,760,000; the refuse fee and recyclables bring in around $927,000 in revenue.

With approval of tax rates, the next step in the process is approval of the budget itself — with the timetable up in the air until the General Assembly and governor approve the state’s biennial budget. The new budget year starts July 1.

Also tonight,

Supervisors will consider approving an electronic communications policy, to reflect that county employees may not use county-owned electronic equipment such as cell phones, laptops and computers for their personal use without authorization. Unauthorized usage may result in disciplinary action.

Supervisors also will consider changing their vendor for county property and liability insurance policies from the Virginia Municipal League (VML) to the Virginia Association of Counties (VACO), which would result in a savings of $136,797 this year.

The board is also expected to confirm that county employees will continue to receive health care insurance through the Local Choice/Anthem plan. The county expects to see only a six percent increase in premiums for the coming year.

Supervisors will consider two candidates who have been recommended for the Halifax County Service Authority board of directors. Kelly Phillips and George Leonard would fill the expired terms of Dexter Gilliam and Stewart Nelson.

The board will unveil the official portrait of retired supervisor Tom West which will be hung in the meeting room at the beginning of this evening’s meeting, and supervisors also are expected to approve a resolution of commendation in memory of Wanda B. Jeffress, who passed away last month.

The Board of Supervisors meeting will be held tonight starting at 6:30 in the second floor meeting room of the Bethune Office Complex.

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