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Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

   201411metrocastweb

Beach property owners dodge real estate tax raise

Colonial Beach property owners narrowly missed paying more in real estate taxes due to Town Council failing to act in a timely manner when presented with increased real estate assessments from a 2009 assessment done in Westmoreland County.
 “It’s illegal to raise peoples’ taxes without a public hearing. That’s wrong,” remarked newly elected town council member Gary Seeber in a telephone interview Monday.  Seeber has spoken up at the August, September and October town council meetings urging council to reduce the current real estate tax rate of .60 per $100 of assessed value by .02 cents in order to avoid a defacto increase in real estate tax revenue to property owners.  
According to Seeber, there is an approximate 2 percent increase in assessed values of land and improvements in Colonial Beach due to a 2009 real estate assessment by Westmoreland County. This approximate 2 percent increase in assessed value causes an approximate 2 percent increase in revenue to the town from real estate taxes.
Virginia State law provides remedies to protect property owners from defacto real estate tax increases that occur when property assessments increase.  Virginia Code Section 58.1-3321 contains very specific language governing the steps localities must take when real estate assessments provide for an increase of 1 percent or more of the total real estate tax levied.  

Read more: Beach property owners dodge real estate tax raise

Mayor wants his office back

Colonial Beach’s new noise ordinance unveiled at Sept. 23 committee meeting
During the Budget Committee meeting, Sept. 23, Mayor Fred Rummage made a “personal request” to the committee to consider rescinding Resolution 27-09 passed by town council unanimously in April of 2009, which states, in part, “the presence of the Mayor at Town Hall on a daily basis is interfering with and obstructing the efficient operations of the Town” and which effectively removed the mayor’s office in town hall.  Committee member Karen Payne, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Ridgely, noted that committee chair Ridgely was not present and that this item should be placed on the agenda for next month’s committee meeting when the chair is present.
Council member Gary Seeber noted that the town’s budget surplus in an approximate amount of $400,000 should be used to provide substantial bonuses to town employees on a “step” basis according to years of service.  Currently the town employs approximately 50 employees.

Read more: Mayor wants his office back

Beach council adopts Capital Improvement Plan

For the first time in at least six years the town council, on Sept. 9, adopted a Capital Improvement Plan, or CIP.  The CIP is a compilation of items and projects requested by each department in town along with projected costs and a timeline.  Working hand-in-hand with the CIP, the council also adopted a proffer policy, which is the amount of money or in-kind improvement requested by the town in order to mitigate negative impacts from development on public facilities.  Also working hand-in-hand with the CIP, the council adopted Level of Service or LOS standards, which measure the quantity and quality of services provided by the town.

Read more: Beach council adopts Capital Improvement Plan

Committee meetings: Budgets, beautification on the agenda

All members of town council were present at the monthly council committee meetings and a special Town Council meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 26, with the exception of Burkett Lyburn.
Special Town Council meeting
Council met to discuss Resolution 37-10, a budget amendment correcting the 2010-2011 school division’s budget.  At issue is a request from Superintendent Donna Power to add $480,104 to the current school budget. The additional revenue includes VPSA Technology “carry forward,” federal grants, and late notification of Regional Governor’s School flow through. Also listed are deductions in federal stimulus funds and preschool funding. These items total $385,104.

Read more: Committee meetings: Budgets, beautification on the agenda

Few answers found within FOIA request

On Wednesday, June 14, Colonial Beach Town Clerk Barbara Goff notified the Journal that the FOIA documents requested on June 25 were ready.  Goff further informed The Journal that the cost for administrative time spent in filling the FOIA request would be waived as it had reached approximately $200.  The decision to waive the administrative fees came about, according to Goff, from a “commitment by the town staff to serve our citizens.”   
A review of the 45 pages, which included a 10-page employment agreement and a 4-page job description for the Chief of Police position, provided no evidence as to the breakdown of contract negotiations that occurred between former police chief Christopher Hawkins and the town during the timeframe of June 10 through June 24.  

Read more: Few answers found within FOIA request

 

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