Speaking out against a tax increase in Bath County
By Bonnie Ralston
The Bath Board of Supervisors held the public hearing on the recommended county and school budgets and tax rates on Tuesday evening. A thirty five cent increase in the personal property tax is proposed. That would double the personal property tax rate, bringing it up to seventy cents per $100 of assessed value.
During the public hearing, eight people spoke about the budget and spoke against the increase in the personal property tax. Speakers said the thirty five cent increase would make it hard on retirees who live on a fixed incomes and hard on those who live in mobile homes, for their homes would be taxed under the increased rate. There were also comments that the board of supervisors needs to be more conservative on it’s spending and not spend so much of the county’s reserves. There was also a question about the school budget increasing again this year by a little more than $700,000. It was asked why the school budget is fully funded again this year, as it has been for the last couple of years, with no cuts recommended by the board of supervisors. In addition, Supervisor Bart Perdue read one letter that was submitted for the public hearing, which urged the board to keep the tax rate as it is and to do a better job to control wasteful spending.
David Jurcak, Managing Director of The Omni Homestead resort also spoke against the personal property tax increase, saying it creates an unnecessary burden on business.
Former Bath supervisor Stuart Hall also spoke during the public hearing. He said the personal property tax increase will hit low income residents hard. He said he was against a tax increase, but said if the board felt it was needed it should look at how much real estate taxes can bring in. He said the thirty five cent increase in personal property taxes will bring in about $192,000, but with just a one cent increase on real estate taxes more than $238,000 will be brought in. Hall said an increase in real estate taxes would be less of a burden on local people, because the Dominion Power pump storage project will be paying most of those taxes. This year the county can tax 100% of the project’s value.
The total of Bath’s recommended budget is just over $21 million, with about $11.1 million of that making up the school budget. The requested budget requires taking about $1,077,000 from reserves. That leaves about $3.3 million, which exceeds the requirement of having 15% of revenue in reserves. That also leaves about $3.7 million available for the board of supervisors to consider for expenditures.
The recommended budget can be found on the Bath County website at www.bathcountyva.org, under public information
The Bath Board of Supervisors will hold another budget work session on Monday, May 5 at 5pm in room 115 at the Courthouse in Warm Springs.