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Halifax supervisors reject 2 cent tax hike, dealing blow to schools

SoVaNow.com / April 01, 2013
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors voted Monday night to leave in place in the county’s 45-cent real estate tax rate.

The vote against a tax hike was 8-0.

Going into the meeting, the supervisors had received a recommendation from the finance committee to raise the rate by 2 cents, with one cent of the new revenue earmarked for the Halifax Courthouse renovation project, and the rest going to the schools and other departments facing budget cuts. Each penny increase in the real estate tax generates about $359,000.

Supervisor Barry Bank introduced a motion to leave the tax rate at 45 cents and it passed unanimously — with finance committee members J.T. Davis, William Fitzgerald and panel chairman Doug Bowman joining the rest of the board in rejecting the proposed 2 cent hike.

The supervisors then held a separate vote to set the School Board budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2013. The Board voted to hold the bump in local school funding to $360,000, and not provide an extra $240,000 as its finance committee had recommended. The money is needed to avoid further cuts in the school budget, which already is facing $1.1 million in personnel cuts.

The vote to hold the increase to $360,000 — thus raising the overall local contribution to education to $13.6 million — was 7-1. J.T. Davis cast the lone dissenting vote.

While rejecting the real estate tax hike, supervisors did adopt a set of fee increases on items ranging from motorcycle and vehicle registrations to dog tags to business licenses. The new fee schedule, which is expected to raise $639,000 in fresh revenue, passed unanimously.

The supervisors have yet to set the overall county budget, which is mostly comprised of school spending. Previously, the board held a public hearing on an advertised budget of $88.7 million.

The budget must be adopted in time for the new fiscal year starting July 1.

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The BOS raising taxes on the businesses should attract a huge number of new businesses to the area. Wonder what the IDA and Nancy Pool's Chamber thinks??? Oh heck, it's almost cantaloupe festival time;-)


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