Accomack County holds public hearings on budget and tax rates

The board will hold a special session on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. at Metompkin Middle School to discuss reassessments

The Accomack County Board of Supervisors held two public hearings Monday night. The first was to receive feedback on the draft 2022 budget.

County Administrator Mike Mason told council that subsequent issues that have arisen since the budget was formulated could lead to changes to the budget, including:

  • The war in Ukraine and the associated spike in fuel prices are impacting both residents and county operations.
  • The awarding of an $8.2 million federal grant for the Regional 911 Radio Communications Project, a project funded in the proposed FY23 budget through the issuance of debt that can now be reduced. This award, along with a meal tax overhaul, will allow Council to consider a 1.5 cent reduction in the property tax rate from the rates contained herein without a substantial overhaul of budget priorities. .
  • This award, along with a meal tax overhaul, will allow Council to consider a 1.5 cent reduction in the property tax rate from the rates contained herein without a substantial overhaul of budget priorities. .
  • The reporting and quantification of an unprecedented increase in the value of used cars which have increased by an average of 22.3%, which has not been budgeted for and will result in significant increases in personal property taxes for owners of vehicles if no action is taken. Mason said staff will propose to Council to consider reducing the personal property tax rate for vehicles, passenger trucks and motorcycles from $3.72 to $2.99 ​​(preliminary) at your next meeting.
  • The unfinished state budget could also affect county revenue.

The subject of three of the speakers was the proposed cigarette tax. The tax is expected to generate $420,000 in additional revenue for the county. Speaking against the tax were. Ed Pulski, owner of Dixieland on the Maryland line, Megan Evans, vice president of business operations at Dixieland and Victor Evans, a cigarette sales representative from Sanford. All three asked the Council to reconsider the tax, saying that a price increase would have a negative effect on sales, which would kill jobs.

Pulski said that if passed, the tax would only result in a savings of about $3.50 and many regular customers in the Salisbury and Ocean City areas would no longer come to the county to buy cigarettes.

Other speakers included Accomack County School Superintendent Chris Holland who thanked the board for its support and library administrator Dennis Custis who told the board that when she will be open, the new library will provide fair conditions for local students and a new heritage center that will feature thousands of documents and books that will relate to the history of the East Coast.

At the second public hearing on tax rates for FY22-23, Onancock’s Don Ruthig told the Commission that research he had done showed a wide disparity in tax rates across the region. of Onancock. Ruthig said his property next to the city limit was valued 26% higher than two years ago, but a neighboring landlord (out of town) only had an increase of 1%. Karen Ruthig said that with increased city taxes and higher county assessments, it could really “hit taxpayers over the head.”

Chincoteague’s Kerry Caesar and Billie Ann Bowden echoed previous remarks. Bowden said her reassessment would result in a $400 increase in her annual tax bill, an increase she could not afford. Caesar said, “I’m surprised more people aren’t here to talk about it. “

Peter Holt of Meadville Drive, Onancock said: ‘I moved to Virginia to escape taxes in Maryland. My tax assessment increased by 42% while the other assessments on his street increased by 20%. There is no consistency in ratings at this time.

After some discussion, the board decided to hold a business meeting on Wednesday, April 6 at 6 p.m. at Metompkin Middle School and hear from County Assessor Brent Hurdle explain why there appears to be a disparity in the latest reassessments. The Board then voted to hold another special session on Monday, April 11 at 5:00 p.m. at Metompkin Middle School to vote on the budget.

The law imposes a separation of seven days between the public hearing and the adoption of the budget. County Administrator Mike Mason said council could still meet on Wednesday to discuss the budget, but could not take action until April 11.

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