Highland supervisors talk taxes
Monterey, Va. – The Highland County Board of Supervisors approved plans to reduce the county tax burden on farmers at its meeting last week. County Administrator Roberta Lambert explains the proposed changes to county tax ordinances.
“Supervisor Blagg had asked that we put on the agenda to discuss amending the personal property tax ordinance to end the tax on farm equipment,” she said. “Any change would have to be enacted prior to December 31 and, of course, it requires an amendment to your ordinance. So it would require a public hearing and would have to be initiated prior to December 31. But the change would be effective January 1.”
Supervisor Lee Blagg discusses one of his motivations for suggesting that the Supervisors take this step.
“We have an ag center here and if we’re going to continue to have agriculture, we’re going to have to alleviate the tax burden any way we can, and this a very small way to alleviate it,” he said. “It’s (the farm equipment tax) not enforceable, it doesn’t generate very much money and is just a hassle for everybody.”
The estimated amount of county tax revenue that would be affected is about $25,000. A second amendment to the county tax ordinances involves the penalty provisions of the ordinances. County Administrator Lambert explains.
“The second one, which was the one the County Treasurer had spoken to you about, which was amending the penalty provisions in the personal and real property ordinances,” she said. “Right now the day after the tax deadline, which is June 5 for real estate and December 5 for real property, a 10% penalty kicks in. The other localities she has looked at, some of them do a 2% penalty for the first month which would be the months of June and December. And then at the beginning of the next month, it goes to a 10% penalty.”
Ms. Lambert continues with some additional details of the proposed amendments to the county tax ordinances.
“Most of these localities, around the 15th of June or December, notify people who are delinquent that the 2% rate will expire at the end of that month and encourage them to pay,” she said. “She believes this would be a benefit to the citizens and to the county to go with this. So that would also require an amendment to your ordinances.”
The Supervisors plan to work further on proposals to change these county tax ordinances and will set the date of the public hearing at a future meeting. In other business, Board of Supervisors Chairman David Blanchard explained that the former SPCA animal shelter, as of July 1, is now being run by the county and the Supervisors have requested that a plan for operation of the county pound be drawn up by County Administrator Lambert and County Animal Control Officer Gary Smith.
That plan will include a period of time during which animals will be held in the pound so that county organizations such as the SPCA and the newly formed Humane Society chapter will have time to try and get the animals adopted out. The Supervisors agreed at a previous meeting that it was time for the county to take charge of the process for dealing with stray animals. The Supervisors hope to work with local groups interested in the health and welfare of these animals to see that as many of them as possible are placed in homes.