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Not just cuts: Budget relies on higher fees / March 18, 2013
The proposed county budget relies on spending cuts to stay out of the red, but fee increases also make up a big part of the budget-balancing story.

The advertised budget, which comes up for a public hearing tonight in Halifax, includes a proposed real estate tax increase, to 47 cents, up from the existing rate of 45 cents. However, supervisors have shown little inclination to actually follow through with the tax hike. The higher rate is being advertised, supervisors say, in case unanticipated expenses force the county to generate additional revenue. (Each penny increase in the real estate tax brings in an estimated $359,000.)

The personal property tax rate remains the same in the proposed budget — it’s set at $3.60 per $100 value. The machinery and tools tax also remains constant, at $1.26 per $100.

The story on fees, however, is dramatically different. The new budget includes a wide variety of price hikes for fees and licenses, intended to raise an additional $638,850 for county coffers. Fees would go up anywhere from 25 percent to 900 percent.

In percentage terms, motorcycle licenses would be subject to the largest fee increase among vehicle types. The cost of a license would go from $5 to $28.75 if supervisors adopt the recommended budget in full.

Other vehicle license fees that are slated to go up include:

• the $25 cost of a license for motor vehicles and RV/motor homes, rising to $40.75.

• the $23 cost for farm vehicles and National Guard vehicles, also rising to $40.75.

Higher motor vehicle fees are estimated to raise $437,000 in new revenue.

Other increases would affect the cost of keeping an animal in Halifax County. Animal license fees are poised to double from the current $5 rate to $10. Kennel tags being hiked by 25 percent, from the current $40 rate to $50. New revenues from higher animal licenses fees should raise another $30,850.

Also, the budget proposes to raise fees at the county animal shelter. The cost of boarding animals at the shelter would go to $10 per day, with a redemption fee of $20. The livestock hauling fee will double, going from $25 to $50 per head; boarding of livestock will cost $25 per day, up from the current rate of $15. The redemption fee for livestock will rise from $25 to $35 per head, with the adoption fee also rising to $45 from the current rate of $35. Fees for shots will increase from $15 to $25. All the increased fees should generate $1,500 in new money.

The cost of licenses for local businesses also would rise, with some types of operations paying sharply higher fees to do business in Halifax County:

An additional $167,000 would be generated by the proposed increase in business license fees.

• Peddler licenses would rise from $50 to $500, a 900 percent hike.

• Coin operated machine fees would also jump significantly, by 400 percent, from the current rate of $20 to $80. Also rising by 400 percent: licenses for itinerant merchants to do business in the county. The fee would go from the current $100 rate to $500.

• Higher business license fees would affect business service providers, contractors, real estate agents, repair servicers and retail and wholesale operators; licensees in each category would pay $50 instead of the current $30. Licenses for amusement businesses would jump by 100 percent, from $100 to $200. Fortune tellers would see the cost of permits rise from $500 to $1,000.

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You know that the people affected by the cuts will be there begging money. Yet the paper always says, nobody else was there. Well we have to work, so when we get in at 6:30 or so from our job feed the kids etc, we don't have time. SO the BOS takes it for granted that everyone supports this. I say cut the fees. Make up for it by cuts everywhere. I am sick of this.


Finally someone else looked at the proposed increases as a percentage increase, which shows the reality of it. I can promise the vehicles you buy these licenses for haven't increased in value by the same percentages.

Makes me glad most of my vehicles are wearing antique/ vintage tags and out of the local licensing and property tax system. They'll get ~$125 out of me for car licenses as it stands, plus PP tax.

Of course I'm sure some local politico will get the bright idea those vehicles should be put back in the system at greatly inflated and unrealistic auction influenced values.

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