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Town eyes meals tax hike, backs babysitting permit / May 13, 2021

Halifax Town Council is eyeing an increase in the town’s meals tax to bring it in line with the tax rate in the Town of South Boston and Halifax County.

Council’s finance committee, chaired by Bill Covington, did not present a draft budget for members to consider as the end of the current budget year approaches on June 30. However, Covington did give fellow members a heads-up that the budget committee will recommend raising the meals tax from four percent to six percent, matching South Boston and Halifax County.

Covington noted that the meals tax is paid only by those who choose to dine at restaurants. Because the tax would be uniform in the county, the increase should not pose an undue burden for restaurant owners in town.

“We have fabulous restaurants for the size of Halifax,” Covington said.

With the meals tax hike, the town can hold the line on personal property and real estate taxes while accomplishing its budget objectives for town residents, staff, and law enforcement, he explained.

The regular Council meeting following the committee work session included the public hearing on a permit request by Vickie Loftis to offer at babysitting service at her Lakeside Drive home. Several moms spoke up in support of her service, which they said is much needed.

“I worry about my child 24/7 except for when she is in Vickie’s care. When we walk in my child is smiling and sad when it’s time to go home,” said one of the mothers.

“I want to give my love to more children and help Halifax thrive at the same time,” said Loftis.

Loftis noted that parents may stop in Halifax to spend money on items from Dollar General, pick up food, or fill their tank with gasoline while bringing their child to her home.

Council approved the babysitting service and will submit a request to VDOT to install a “watch for children” sign near her home on Lakeside Drive.

In other matters, Halifax Police Chief Stuart Comer reported a Speed Enforcement Trailer has arrived for the Town’s use, but he still awaiting the tags from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Council members ribbed the police chief over having to wait weeks for his turn in line at the DMV.

“The trailer has many options, you can program messages to alert drivers, as well as begin to flash when drivers are exceeding the posted speed limit,” said Comer.

» Following up on the thermal handheld camera request by the Halifax Fire Department, Council member and police officer Malcolm Bowen expressed the cameras have arrived and the invoice would be coming soon to the town office. The funds for these cameras were previously allocated in the budget.

» Council scheduled a June 8 public hearing to address a Special Use Permit request by Theresa Long to operate a mobile notary service from her home.

The Town of Halifax Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on May 26 and the next regular meeting will be held on June 8.

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