Public Hearing on Tax Increase: ‘Read My Lips’

Cape Charles Wave

May 31, 2013

Six residents spoke or submitted comments at last night’s public hearing on a proposed tax increase for the Town of Cape Charles. And while each resident spoke in his or her own way, each message was essentially the same: Don’t raise my taxes!

Town Council is proposing a two-step rate increase. The first rate hike would bring the amount of tax collected up to last year’s level, even though real property assessments dropped 35 percent on average.

Last year’s Town tax rate was 18 cents per $100 of property value. The first step would increase that rate to 27 cents – a 50 percent rate increase.

The second step would increase the rate an additional 8 percent, from 27 cents to 29 cents per $100.

The Town is required to advertise the proposed tax rates and hold a public hearing before voting. Under law, the rate voted by Town Council cannot be higher than the rate advertised, but it can be lower.

At last night’s meeting, Town Treasurer Kim Coates provided an updated proposed budget some $211,000 less than earlier projections.

The latest budget projection requires a rate of 27.6 cents instead of almost 29 cents.

That would be a 3 percent increase over last year instead of the advertised 8 percent increase.

Town property owners also must pay Northampton County taxes. The County also plans to increase its tax rate to compensate for lower property assessments, but unlike the Town, no additional tax increase is planned. [Read more…]


Historic Review Board Denies Chimney Removal

New Historic District Review Board denied a request to remove the non-working chimney at 621 Jefferson Avenue. (Wave photo)

New Historic District Review Board denied a request to remove the non-working chimney at 621 Jefferson Avenue. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

May 30, 2013

The new Cape Charles Historic District Review Board met May 21, and quickly got to work on a request by the new owners to modify a house at 621 Jefferson Avenue.

Town Planner Tom Bonadeo (who retired May 28) described 621 Jefferson as “located in an area of town where the homes are in the most need of repair. At least two nearby homes have been abandoned for 6-10 years,” he said. He further noted that 621 Jefferson had been empty and for sale for two years.

The new owners, Matthew Hardison and Trafton Jordan, requested permission to extend a dormer; return the porch to its original open style; remove a non-functioning chimney; replace existing vinyl siding; and replace a rear window with a sliding door.

Bonadeo recommended approval of all requests, but the new Board was hesitant. They preferred French doors over a sliding door, but acknowledged that there was not sufficient space. Since the sliding door would include muttons resembling a French door, they approved that design.

The Board also was troubled over removal of the chimney. Even though Bonadeo judged it “badly deteriorated if not unusable,” the Board worried that a house without a chimney was not in keeping with the historic nature of the neighborhood.

The Board voted to deny permission to remove the chimney. The owners may need to repair it to prevent it from falling down, but they were not required to make it usable. [Read more…]


Northampton 4-H Camp Registration Open

Northampton 4-H Camp Registration is open to go to  Airfield 4-H Center in Wakefield July 8-13. [Read more…]

Public Hearing Thursday on Tax Hikes: Will Anyone Come?


May 29, 2013

Cape Charles taxpayers will have a chance to speak their minds on a proposed property tax increase at a public hearing 6 p.m. Thursday (May 30) at St. Charles Parish Hall, 550 Tazewell Avenue.

Town Council is considering two rate increases: The first would “equalize” the amount of tax collected to be the same as last year, even though real property assessments dropped 35 percent on average.

A second rate hike would result in an actual 8 percent increase in revenues over last year.

Last year’s Town tax rate was 18 cents per hundred dollars of value. This year’s equalization rate would be 26 cents, and the additional 8 percent hike would bring the total tax to 28 cents per hundred dollars.

A second public hearing will be held June 20 on the complete Town budget, including a proposed 50 percent sewer rate hike.

At last year’s public hearing on the tax rate and budget, only two members of the public attended. No written comments were received, and the only speaker was councilman-elect Frank Wendell.

At both the 2011 and 2010 public hearings, no member of the public attended and no written comments were received. [Read more…]

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Town Ordered to Repay $18,000 for Library Computers

Computers in the new Cape Charles Memorial Library are the most-used feature. (Wave photo)

Computers in the new Cape Charles Memorial Library are the most-used feature. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

May 28, 2013

The Town of Cape Charles has been ordered to pay back $18,000 for computers purchased through grant funds.

The computers are now located in the Town’s new library in the former Bank of America building. Previously they were housed in the Cape Charles Christian School.

Town Manager Heather Arcos informed Town Council May 16 that “a citizen complaint” that the computers were not available to the public was made to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last fall when the computers were in the Christian School.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) investigated, and instructed the Town to make the computers available to the public by December 19, 2012.

According to Arcos, the computers were moved from the Christian School to the new library building on December 11. The library had not yet opened, but “a computer class schedule was posted with pre-registration requirements until the relocation of the library.”

However, no one registered, and no classes were held. The DHCD made an unannounced visit and found the building locked.

As a result, Arcos said, DHCD ordered the Town to repay $18,000 of grant money. [Read more…]


Now & Then: Bay Haven Inn Remake Reflects Town Pride


May 27, 2013

The pictures are worth a thousand words.

On the right is how Bay Haven Inn looks today, after Jim and Tammy Holloway got hold of it.

Below is what it looked like when they bought it.

The transformation at 403 Tazewell Avenue is one of the most dramatic examples of what is being

played out all over the Cape Charles Historic District.

Houses are getting coats of paint, new roofs, new plumbing, electrical work, shored-up foundations, and years of overgrowth are being trimmed from yards.

And something else is blooming like spring crocuses: For Sale signs.

The real estate market is the most active this year since the bubble burst, with numerous owners deciding it’s time to list their house. Houses like Bay Haven Inn are surely promoting confidence in the Historic District.

Bay Haven Inn and the Northampton Chamber of Commerce hosted an “It’s Five O’clock Now” ribbon cutting last Thursday to officially kick off the tourist season in Cape Charles.

Chamber board chairman Linda Buskey, who also is sales manager at Bay Creek Reality, along with Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Director Dave Schulte, joined the Holloways for the ribbon cutting. [Read more…]

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FRIDAY 5/31: Franktown Montessori School Art Show

Friday, May 31, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Franktown UMC Fellowship Hall, the Montessori Children’s House of Franktown’s Primary class is having an Art Show to display the children’s artwork. [Read more…]

MONDAY 6/3: Spay/Neuter Van Comes to Town

The SNIP (Spay Neuter Immediately Please) van will be in Cape Charles Monday, June 3, at the old Bay Market parking lot on Mason Avenue. [Read more…]