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Tax, fee hikes up for vote tonight

SoVaNow.com / April 01, 2013
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors will meet tonight to set tax rates for the coming year and decide whether to adopt the recommendation of its finance committee to raise the real estate tax by 2 cents.

The supervisors’ meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Mary Bethune Complex.

The finance committee, made up of Doug Bowman, J.T. Davis and William Fitzgerald, has called for county real estate to be taxed at a rate of 47 cents per $100 value. The current rate is 45 cents.

Finance panel members say additional revenue is needed to pay for the restoration of the historic Halifax County Courthouse. One cent of the tax hike — which would generate roughly $359,000 — should be set aside for that purpose, according to the committee.

The other one cent increase would mostly go to the Halifax County school division under the committee’s plan. Members have called for giving the schools an additional $240,000, which would bring the local education contribution to $13,507,529.

Remaining revenue, roughly amounting to $100,000, to be used to restore money for other items that have undergone cuts in the budget.

The new county budget goes into effect July 1, 2013.

Also tonight, supervisors are expected to vote on a proposed 2013-2014 fee schedule that would raise county revenues by some $636,850. The hikes include a new motor vehicle license fee of $40.75 (up from the current $25); a $28.75 fee for motorcycles (up from $5) and a fee of $10 for dog tags (currently $5).

The new schedule also includes a spate of increases on items ranging from animal control to business license fees.

Supervisors also will consider finalizing a memorandum of understanding with the school system to allow for the use of the middle school as an emergency shelter in time of need.

Supervisors will also consider a resolution that would allow Halifax County to withhold certain building permits, zoning permits and land use permits from any applicant who has not satisfied payment of delinquent real estate taxes. Members will decide whether to schedule a public hearing in May to consider an ordinance requiring that real estate taxes be paid prior to the issuance of such business licenses.

The Board will also consider the use of USDA Rural Development, Community Facilities Loan Program to finance renovations to the Courthouse. The program makes loans only, no grants, and offers favorable interest rates which can be extended up to 40 years.

Lastly, the Board is being asked to consider a request from the L. E. Coleman African-American Museum for a tax exemption as a non-profit organization, which would first require a public hearing on the matter.

In other matters, County Planner Robbie Love will advise Supervisors that George A. Anderson has requested withdrawal of a 30.42 acre tract of land on Rodgers Chapel Road from an Agricultural/Forestral District. That move will also require a public hearing prior to the Board’s taking action on Anderson’s request.

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