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Halifax County supes lock in tax rates for another year / April 05, 2018

The Halifax County Board of Supervisors made it official Monday night — there will be no tax increases in the upcoming county budget.

On a unanimous vote, supervisors approved leaving the real estate tax at 48 cents per $100 value, after earlier considering a one-cent increase. Supervisors also kept in the place the county’s personal property tax rate, set at $3.85 per $100 in value, and the machinery and tools tax, which will remain at $1.26 per $100 value.

However, supervisors also approved the scheduling of a public hearing for their May 7 meeting, at which time they are expected to approve an increase in the annual solid waste fee from $50 to $75.

Board members noted that the increase in the solid waste fee should generate an additional $337,500 for county coffers, which will pay for local services. The fee increase affects all the households in the county, members pointed out.

The board acted on a recommendation by its finance committee, which advised that solid waste expenses run around $1,760,100 annually. By contrast, the county collects waste removal and recycling sales revenues of only about $927,000 annually, creating a sizeable gap that will be lessened by the pending fee increase.

In other money matters Monday night, supervisors approved the transfer of county property and liability insurance policies to the Virginia Association of Counties Risk Pool (VACORP), moving away from the Virginia Municipal League Insurance Program (VMLIP).

According to County Administrator Jim Halasz the county can save $136,797 this year by changing insurance vendors.

Finance chairman J. T. Davis, who moved for approval of the switch, noted the money saved may only be a one-time savings, and consequently should not be counted on to cover operating expenses. Instead, Davis said, the savings should be placed in the county’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Supervisors also approved renewing Anthem’s Local Choice Program for employees’ health care coverage. Employees will pay no more for coverage during the upcoming year although the policy will incur a six percent increase.

The county will cover the increased costs with funds included in the advertised county budget.

In other business, supervisors adopted a new electronic communication policy effective April 3. Text messaging for county operations will be prohibited to avoid the expense of capturing and storing the texts.

The policy applies to all text messaging by staff and members of the Board of Supervisors whether it is via a county-provided cell phone or a personal phone.

In place of texting, it is recommended that county business be conducted via email which is already captured and stored by the county.

The board also made several appointments including naming Kelly Phillips and George Leonard to serve four-year terms on the Halifax County Service Authority to fill the expired terms of Dexter Gilliam and Stewart Nelson.

Board members also named Amanda Moseley, CEO of Southstone, to serve on the Community Policy Management team and Danny W. Bomar to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Francisco on the Halifax County Improvement Council.

They also reappointed both Ms. Laurietta Faulkner and Jim Halasz to serve another term on the Southside Planning District Commission as well as naming four incumbent members, Bruce Pearce of ED#3, John Wayne Irby of ED#2, Woody Bane of ED#4 and Ed Owens of ED#8 to serve another term on the Halifax County Recreational Advisory Committee.

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