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Urbanna residents should ‘have their voices heard’

by Bob Calves

This coming Monday evening (May 20) is an important time for Urbanna as there will be a public hearing on the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2013. I am taking this opportunity to clarify and highlight some budget items, and to make a case for reducing town taxes.

First I would like to quell a rumor that has been going around town; that is, that Urbanna borrowed money to repay over $90,000 to FEMA. This is simply not true. FEMA was repaid with funds generated and available from the town and water system’s profitable operations, and by delaying the payment of certain bills. As previously reported, an investigation by the town attorney was not able to uncover the details, as the accounting/bookkeeping system was not understandable.

At this time last year there were six town loans with various maturities: four associated with the water system, one for the purchase of the marina, and one for the “street beautification” project. Last July these were refinanced and consolidated into a single loan of $375,000 being paid at the rate of about $62,000 per year, and it will be paid off in six years from this coming July.

The entire town budget for all funds is under $900,000. The town is profitable as indicated by the fact that the checking account has over $250,000 cash compared to around $100,000 at this time last year! This is a huge percentage increase.

The bottom line is that Urbanna citizens should receive some tax relief. A surplus of $84,000 is expected and $20,000 should be given back. A 2-cent real estate tax reduction (offsetting the recent county increase) would only cost the town $20,000. A better alternative would be to eliminate the personal property tax and car license tax. This tax is not paid by many individuals. Eliminating this tax might attract a few more boats to help the town’s economy. Finally, eliminating this tax would ease office workload at the same time as real estate taxes are being collected. Removal of the personal property and license taxes would only cost the town $20,000.

I urge all citizens to have their voices heard at the public hearing on Monday, May 20, at 7 p.m. in the town hall.

Bob Calves is the former Urbanna Town Treasurer. He resigned on March 15, 2013. He can be contacted at .

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 05.15.2013

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