Real estate taxes flat, overall revenue increases

Chesterfield’s real estate tax rate could remain the same as the same rate as this year. The Board of Supervisors (BOS) last week voted to advertise a rate of $ .95 per $100 of a home’s assessed value. The vote does not set the rate but does set a cap at the advertised rate.

The BOS can vote to lower the rate that is advertised in legal notices but they cannot raise the rate over what was advertised.

Assistant Budget Director for Chesterfield, Matt Harris, said, one tax revenue category, the highest overall, increased by $4.7 million, roughly a third of all total increases. It is a direct reflection of economic strengths, strong gains in retail sales, recordation and occupancy [hotel] taxes.

Property taxes have had a flat reevaluation of a 1.7 percent increase and that has not been caused by an increase in building permits, so increases in other tax categories have not had to cover the decrease in property assessments.

Matoaca district Supervisor Steve Elswick, said that during a community meeting that he held in his district last week, his citizens were cautious almost to the point of being scared considering what they’ve seen at the national and state levels. He said he conveyed that “we get it and we do know that it’s your money that we are spending. We’re doing our best to hold the line for them.”

“Over the last few years we’ve run a very conservative-run government, but what that means is we don’t just cut, cut, cut,” said Dan Gecker, Midlothian District Supervisor. What it means is that those things that we do, we’re supposed to do well.”

Mr. Gecker said, a couple of years ago there was a discussion about cutting about half of the parks and rec budget and although there is no revenue connected with that there is a tremendous amount of quality of life and functions that were in question. We have much more of a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of our citizens. “As long as we tend to do what we’re supposed to do, we will do well.” Gecker said.

Director of Budget and Management, Alan Carmody, explained to the Board how Virginia code requires an offset on the decline in property values. The Board was asked to vote on the real estate rate, as well as the utility rate and real estate tax rate for the elderly for the fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2013.

Dale District Supervisor, Jim Holland, asked County administrator J. L. “Jay” Stegmaier to begin the process of offering a referendum to increase the meals tax. Mr. Holland then motioned to advertise the real estate rate at $.95 per $100 of assessed property value in addition to the utility and tax rate for the elderly.

“As Mr. Stegmaier goes forward to flesh out a potential date for a meals tax referendum,” Gecker said. “It would make sense to take a look at what a bond referendum would look like.”

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