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Only two residents comment on Urbanna budget

by Tom Chillemi

With the Town of Urbanna anticipating a budget surplus of $84,000, town resident and former town treasurer Bob Calves asked council Monday night to consider a tax cut or paying off debt early.

During the public hearing on the town’s $875,000 budget, Calves said, “The town has come a very long way financially in the last two or three years. . . . We (the town) are loaded with cash right now.” He suggested removing $20,000 from the surplus and “give it back to the taxpayers.”

Calves was very involved in the budget process until he resigned as town treasurer on March 15.

“I believe we should give a little bit back to the taxpayers by either giving a couple cents relief on the real estate tax rate or eliminate the personal property tax entirely,” said Calves. The town’s personal property tax “has become a mine field of people not paying and a huge burden on the office staff.”

Calves also noted that when the town refinanced debt, it opted to stretch out the payments with a 7-year note, instead of a 5-year note. The town is paying about $60,000 in debt service, said Calves, adding that the town can repay the money faster. “This would really help us in the future” with capital improvement items. Due to the surplus, the town will not have cash flow problems in the fall before taxes are due in December, said Calves.

Also speaking during the public hearing was town resident Larry Chowning, who asked council to consider sending tax bills twice a year, as Middlesex County does. He said it would spread out the town’s cash flow and would spread out the tax burden. It would be a form of tax relief without lowering taxes.

Council did not respond to Calves or Chowning. By law, council must wait at least 7 days before voting on the budget. Mayor Don Richwine indicated council will vote on the budget in June. The new fiscal year begins July 1.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 05.22.2013

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