hazel20160120

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Real Estate tax rate remains unchanged for Colonial Beach residents

Colonial Beach Town Council held a special meeting this evening to vote on advertised tax increases and the town’s budget for fiscal year 2013-14. The council proposed raising real estate taxes by five cents, which would bring the current rate of 58 cents per hundred dollars of value to 63 cents. But after almost four hours of deliberations the council decided against raising real estate taxes.
However the proposed one percent tax increase on both meals and lodging tax was approved along with a five cent a pack cigarette tax.
It appeared the council might not reach a decision when council reached a stalemate during the negotiations. Councilwomen Wanda Goforth, Linda Brubaker and Councilman Jim Chiarello remained steadfast that they would not raise the real estate tax.
Mayor Mike Ham, Vice Mayor Tommy Edwards, Councilman Gary Seeber and Councilman Tim Curtin all supported a real estate tax increase of one or two cents to help fund raises for town employees.
The three members who apposed the real estate tax increase also did not support a raise for town employees, some more adamantly than others. The council needed a majority vote of five members to raise taxes.
Councilman Seeber tried to negotiate with the three members stating he would vote for the meals, lodging and cigarette taxes if they agreed to a real estate tax.
After several hours Seeber proposed that the council reduce the funding promised to the school by $50,000 and increase the funding to the general fund / town government by $50,000. This would enable the town to give raises to all town employees and the budget change only required four votes.
The council voted six to one to raise the meals, lodging and cigarette tax. Mayor Ham voted no. Ham later said he was and is not in favor of raising the meals and lodging taxes.
Feeling defeated Goforth and Chiarello voted with the rest of the council to amend the budget to allow for raises. Brubaker stood her ground voting no.
Despite their reluctance to give town employees their raises all three kept their promise to vote no on real estate taxes, scoring a victory.

Linda Farneth

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