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Beach real estate tax rate reduced

Colonial Beach property owners will not see an increase in real estate taxes this year.  Ordinance #592 was passed by a unanimous vote of town council on Nov. 11 at a special meeting that began at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 7:04 p.m. with one public comment. All town council members were in attendance with the exception of Sparky Ridgely who was out of town.  According to council member Steve Kennedy “The reason for doing this is to keep the tax at the same level as last year.” 


The ordinance provides for a $.02 cent decrease on the current $.60 per $100 assessed value tax rate, and brings the tax rate down to $.58 per $100 and is retroactive to July 2010.  By passing Ordinance #592 and reducing the real estate tax rate, the town of Colonial Beach avoids a defacto increase in real estate tax revenues due to higher property assessments arising from a 2009 reassessment of real property in Westmoreland County.  Taxing the higher assessed values of real property would have resulted in an approximate 2 percent increase in tax revenue to the town, which is above the legal threshold a locality can collect without holding a public hearing, according to VA Code Section 58.1-3321. 
The town was made aware of the increase in assessed values that were potentially over the 1 percent legal threshold in late March 2010.  Newly elected council member Gary Seeber advised the council at its August, September and October meetings that a tax rate reduction was in order to comply with state law. Before a locality can increase any tax or levy upon citizens, the governing body is required to hold a public hearing and provide for citizen comment. 

Kathy Flanagan

 

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