Monterey Town Council’s February Meeting
The Monterey Town Council held it’s first meeting of 2022 on February 3.
A public hearing was held on a revision to the town’s Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance. County Attorney Melissa Dowd reported that the changes would bring the town’s ordinance into compliance with current state law. Virginia has made changes to now tax the total charge on vacation rentals, including the fees from any intermediaries, such as Airbnb. Campgrounds are also being added to the ordinance, so those fees would also be taxed. There are currently no campgrounds in the town of Monterey. The town’s Transient Occupancy Tax is 5% of the total room charge. Virginia Code does not require towns to spend a percentage of the tax on tourism, but Monterey has historically paid 2% of the tax collected to the Highland Tourism Council. The Town Council approved the new ordinance, which went into effect retroactively January 1. The county has already adopted this new ordinance.
Mayor Ronald Wimer reported that for the water grant, one bid was received for work. The Department of Health is reviewing the bid and will issue a recommendation.
Town Council members discussed a request for a new utility installation near the end of Sieg Alley. Mayor Wimer reported that the sewer line is located on the opposite side of the street, so it will need to be installed across the alleyway. The Town Council approved the utility installation and the payment of the upfront expenses.
County Attorney Melissa Dowd also presented information on an Electronic Communications Policy. She clarified that members of boards were allowed to participate in meetings electronically during the pandemic, because both a local and a statewide State of Emergency had been declared. Now that the State of Emergency is no longer in effect, board members must attend in person in order to be counted for attendance and in order to vote. Dowd presented an Electronic Communications Policy, that lists exceptions that are allowed where board members can attend meetings electronically and vote. Under this policy for the Town Council, members can miss two meetings a year, but they have to notify the Mayor in advance, state why they will be absent and have the absence approved. Then a member could attend electronically, be counted as present at the meeting and vote as part of the meeting. The Town Council adopted this Electronic Communications Policy. Dowd plans to present the same policy to both the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission.
And Mayor Ronald Wimer was reappointed to the Bath-Highland Network Authority.