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Urbanna staff proposes 4-cent real estate tax hike

by Tom Chillemi

imageThe figures are preliminary, but the Town of Urbanna staff has recommended a 4-cent increase in the town real estate tax rate as well as a $1 increase in water rates for the upcoming 2009-10 (FY10)budget.

The preliminary figures were released at the town council’s finance committee work session on March 27.

The finance committee is considering increasing the real estate tax rate from 20 cents to 24 cents per $100 of value. The town personal property tax rate would remain at 65 cents per $100.

With the proposed 4-cent tax increase, the town real estate tax on a house worth $200,000 would jump from $400 to $480, an increase of $80.

Town residents also pay a county real estate tax of 35 cents per $100 of value; and a county personal property tax of $3.50 per $100 of value.

Last year the town cut the real estate tax rate from 23 cents to 20 cents due to the county-wide reassessment. However, last year’s levy amounted to an increased tax collection, which was needed to fund litigation costs connected to the proposed condominiums at Urbanna Yachting Center. That litigation is now in the hands of a Middlesex Circuit Court Judge.

Urbanna water rates would increase a dollar. The minimum (under 3,000 gallons) in-town water rate would increase from $11 to $12 per month; while the out-of-town rate would go from $25 to $26 a month.

For those using over 3,000 gallons of water a month, the in-town rate would be $2.40 per 1,000 gallons, 20 cents more than the current rate. The out-of-town rate would be $5.20 per 1,000 gallons, also a 20-cent increase.

Police services agreement

Looking to cut expenses, the finance committee debated the need for a police services agreement that it has had with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office to provide an extra 40 hours of patrols in town each week.

The current police services agreement, which ends on June 30, 2009, costs $53,759. The state paid $15,990 in FY09 and the town paid $37,769.

The state’s share will decrease $1,400 in FY10 to $14,616.

Finance committee member Joanie Ward said she has checked the police reports received since she took office on July 1, 2008 and found that the sheriff patrols averaged only 33.7 hours a week for 35 weeks. In only 10 weeks were the patrols at or above 40 hours.

A question was raised by town resident Bob Calves as to whether the town is required to provide police protection or patrols.

Ward invited all residents to contact her and let her know how they feel about the police services agreement and other issues. Ward asked to have her number published (758-5993).

Sheriff Guy Abbott said on Tuesday that an officer reports at each council meeting. “But, I’ve not heard of any problem until now. I’m looking into it.”

The finance committee also debated deleting $6,000 in “contract labor.” That money is earmarked to pay former mayor Ken Moore to read all water meters every other month, said finance committee chair Bill Thrift.

No pay increases are proposed for town employees.

The finance committee will meet on Friday, April 3, in a work session that is open to the public.

posted 04.01.2009

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