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Last updateThu, 19 Nov 2015 8pm

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Public hearing on tax increases on June 19

The Colonial Beach Town Council will hold a special meeting on  Wednesday, June 19 at 7 p.m. at Town Center in Colonial Beach to conduct a public hearing on the matter of raising taxes.

The council proposes to increase real estate taxes from .58 to .63 per $100 of assessed, lodging tax from four percent to five percent, meals tax from four percent to five percent and cigarette tax from .25 to .30 per pack.

The new taxes would fund an extra $400,000 for the town’s schools.

The town council held a special meeting May 20 to discuss the school budget and unanimously voted to commit to funding the full budget.

Mayor Mike Ham began the special meeting by saying “Due to federal cut backs the school has lost almost one million dollars in federal funding, we normally fund them about $1.75 million a year. It’s going to take about 2.15 million this year, so we’re talking about a $400,000 shortfall.”

Ham laid out the budget dilemma, “The school is asking for $2,153,198 this year. The town’s budget has committed $1,780,281 to the school which leaves a $372,917 shortfall. In the draft budget we are looking at possibly a $105,000 surplus for the town. So if we apply that to the school that would still leave us with $267,917 short. The only way to cover that is through a property tax increase. I know we had talked about a seven cent increase in the past.”

However, Ham calculated that a five cent increase would generate $250,000 more to provide to the school. Along with the $105,000 surplus, that would give the town a total of $355,000 revenue to fund most of the extra money the school is requesting. “Leaving around a $17,000 shortfall,” Ham said, “but I think we can work with that.”

Concerned residents should attend the public hearing on June 19 to have their voices heard.

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