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…]