Town Council Splits on Tax Increase

Cape Charles Wave

April 26, 2013

With one week left to agree on how much to increase Cape Charles property taxes, Town Council members are split over what to do.

Last year’s rate was 18 cents per hundred dollars of value, but the Town would have to slash its budget to maintain that rate.

That’s because Northampton County has reassessed all properties for the first time in five years, and values in Cape Charles dropped an average of 35 percent.

According to Town Manager Heather Arcos, the new “equalization” tax rate would be 27 cents per hundred dollars. That means that on average, with a rate of 27 cents, Town property owners would pay the same amount of tax as last year.

At last night’s special meeting of Town Council, Mayor Dora Sullivan said Council needs to make whatever budget cuts are necessary to keep from exceeding the equalized rate of 27 cents. But she acknowledged that this would not be easy.

“I don’t think it has ever been this difficult to arrive at a budget before,” Mayor Sullivan said, speaking as one who has served more than a decade on Council.

Her husband, Councilman Mike Sullivan, agreed that the Town needs to draw the line at 27 cents.

Councilman Frank Wendell added his voice, bringing the number of supporters of a no-growth budget to three.

On the other side was Vice Mayor Chris Bannon, who thought a tax increase to maintain Town services might be necessary.

Councilman Steve Bennett sided with Bannon.

Councilman Tom Godwin was on the fence. He would prefer equal budget cuts for all Town departments in order to hold the line, but if that were not possible he would vote for a tax increase.

The tie-breaker would have been Councilwoman Joan Natali, but she was out of town.

Natali and Bannon usually vote the same way. [Read more…]


SATURDAY 4/27: Mattawoman Creek Farms Tours

Come see Mattawoman Creek Farms 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27. Free farm tours at 10, 11, 12, 1, and 2. [Read more…]