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The Westmoreland Supervisors met in special session on Oct. 8. Action taken that morning will allow the county’s tax bills to go out.
The supervisors had to set the personal property tax relief rates for the 2009 tax year, but the action could not occur until new sets of numbers were in hand.
The business resulted from Virginia’s Personal Property Tax Relief Act, a measure that is gradually being phased out of existence. The Commonwealth sent Westmoreland a total of $1,139,678 to replace the reduction in taxes charged to the owners of motor vehicles used for private transportation.

The resolution the supervisors adopted last Thursday morning provides an explanation of the action.
“The Personal Property Tax Relief Act of 1998 . . . has been substantially modified,” it begins.
“These legislative enactments require Westmoreland County to take affirmative steps to implement these changes, and to provide for the computation and allocation of relief provided . . .
“These legislative enactments provide for the appropriation to Westmoreland County, of a fixed sum to be used exclusively for the provision of tax relief to owners of qualifying personal use vehicles that are subject to the personal property tax on such vehicles.
“Therefore, be it resolved, that qualifying vehicles obtaining situs within Westmoreland County during tax year 2009 shall receive personal property tax relief in the following manner:
“Personal use vehicles valued $1,000 or less will be eligible for 100 percent tax relief;
“Personal use vehicles valued at $1,001 to $20,000 will be eligible for 51 percent tax relief;
“Personal use vehicles valued at $20,001 or more shall receive 0 percent tax relief; and
“All other vehicles which do not meet the definition of ‘qualifying’ (business use vehicles, farm use vehicles, motor homes, etc.) will not be eligible for any form of tax relief under this program.”
“We have to have the called meeting because we don’t have the information until we have it,” Board Chairman Darryl Fisher told residents who gathered for the 9 a.m. meeting.
County Administrator Norm Risavi quickly added that the commissioner of revenue had to identify the vehicles registered in Westmoreland County that fall into the respective tax relief categories.
“Carol [Gawen] finished the book last week,” the administrator told the members of the board.
The Personal Property Tax Relief Act is being gradually retired and Risavi has explained that Westmoreland has “reserved a portion [of its allocation] for supplementals.
“The residual will be added to next year’s residual from the state. If everything remains constant,” he then stated, “it will likely be more money next year and potentially more relief.”
The measure applies to personal vehicles whose weight does not exceed 7,500 pounds. Tax bills will show how the relief has been applied.
Before the Oct. 8 meeting started, Commissioner Gawen commented about the progress of the county’s latest reassessment activities. Gawen explained that the work is almost complete and the reassessment team will deliver their findings later this year.
According to Gawen, land values have not fallen in Westmoreland County. Instead, some appreciation has occurred, despite the troubled condition of the real estate market and the nation’s economy.

Betsy Ficklin
The Journal
 

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