Taxes And Next Year’s Budget Much On The Minds Of Bath County Supervisors
Warm Springs, VA – Taxes and next year’s budget were a hot topic at Tuesday night’s Bath Board of Supervisors meeting. The board heard from several speakers about the county’s meals tax, real estate taxes and the upcoming budget.
Voters in Bath County voted for a meals tax at a rate of 4%. The Board then set the meals tax at 1%. During public comment several speakers told the board they would like to see the meals tax raised to 4% before the board raised real estate taxes. Speakers also said they would like to see the real estate tax rate put back to 46 cents.
Speakers said the board had promised that before raising real estate taxes, they would raise the meals tax first. Supervisor Carol Hardbarger said she is supportive of the 4% meals tax. Supervisor Percy Nowlin said he is willing to put the 4% meals tax on the table with along with everything else while working on the budget. Supervisor Stuart Hall said he is also supportive of the 4% meals tax and the estimated half a million dollars it will generate.
Supervisor Richard Byrd said he doesn’t like the meals tax, but said he can support raising it if the Board needs it to offset the difference to get the real estate tax rate back to 46 cents. Byrd said the meals tax was created as a fallback, where it could be raised if the county needed additional revenue.
Supervisor Jon Trees said if the board cuts the real estate tax rate back to 46 cents and expenses increase next year and revenues decrease, what will the board do next year? With the recent reassessment, the county will receive a large influx of revenue from Virginia Power this year, but that amount will decrease every year until the next reassessment. The board set a public hearing on raising the meals tax to 4% for it’s next meeting on May 10th.
Supervisor Carol Hardbarger said she would support a lower real estate tax rate if people told her they were willing to accept the consequences of more budget cuts. She said the board had cut as much as they could out of operating funds for county departments. She said more cuts can be made but they will result in reduced services.
Hardbarger said she would like people to come to the budget hearing on Thursday night and tell the board that they’d accept more cuts in exchange for a low property tax rate and accept the consequences those cuts would bring. The public hearing on the proposed County budget and the School budget is Thursday night at 7 in room 115 of the courthouse in Warm Springs.