Montgomery Co. proposes raising real estate, personal property rates
Some of the new revenue would go toward schools.
STEPHANIE KLEIN-DAVIS | The Roanoke Times
The Ashley Plantation neighborhood, with $400,000-plus homes on a golf course in Botetourt County, contains signs like these along Greenfield Street, because a convicted sex offender’s wife is building a home in the community. The husband, Calvert Anthony Thompson, has a history of sexually assaulting young women but was released from prison in June and has reconciled with his wife of 20 years. ]
Monday, March 4, 2013
CHRISTIANSBURG -- Montgomery County staff proposed a 2-cent increase in the county's real estate tax rate Monday, along with a 10-cent jump in the county's personal property tax rate.
The recommendation, delivered during a work session on the county's upcoming 2013-14 budget, follows the current budget's 12-cent increase in the real estate tax rate, the highest the county had seen in decades. Like the bulk of this year's increase, revenue from the proposed new jump would go to school expenses.
"I'm glad we're going to try to do something for the county schools," county Supervisor Matt Gabriele said after the meeting, "despite the state not meeting its obligations" with school funding.
Of the proposed increase in the personal property tax from $2.45 to $2.55 per $100 of assessed value, Gabriele said, "I think this is a necessary adjustment."
The board of supervisors plans several meetings to discuss the budget, including a March 26 public hearing, before a scheduled vote to adopt a finished spending plan on April 15.
County Administrator Craig Meadows presented a $167.9 million proposal that included $94.8 million for the school system's operating budget. It would give the schools $2.2 million in new county money, about two-thirds of the increase the schools requested.
The proposal also added $1.4 million to the school capital fund and $200,000 to the cafeteria fund. School spending accounts for about 60 percent of the county's overall budget.
Supervisor Mary Biggs said she was glad the proposal included increased funding for both the schools and the county's general fund.
The $167.9 million spending plan would be nearly 3 percent higher than the current budget, and would shift the real estate tax rate from 87 to 89 cents per $100 of assessed value. The real estate tax increase would raise the annual tax total for a property valued at $150,000 by $30.
Meadows said that the county has not raised its personal property tax since 1994. The suggested increase would raise the tax bill for a vehicle valued at $20,000 by $20 per year.
"I don't think it's a bad idea," supervisors Chairman Jim Politis said of the recommended personal property tax increase.
Like other supervisors, Politis said he needed to study the proposal. But his first reaction was that "it's a reasonable proposal, a lot better than what I was expecting."
Supervisor Bill Brown said that the suggested personal property tax rate "looks pretty good" and would spread the tax burden further by including residents who do not own real estate. The suggested increase would still leave Montgomery County's personal property rate well below counties that supervisors consider as peers, such as Roanoke County, where the personal property tax rate is $3.50 per $100 of assessed value.
The proposed tax increases would bring in $1.9 million during the 2013-14 fiscal year. Montgomery County also expects to see $2.8 million of new revenue from growth.
Besides the schools, the proposed budget would increase some funding:
Supervisors said they were glad that much of the new revenue was being steered to maintaining buildings and other capital costs.
Gabriele said he was glad to see more long-term thinking incorporated into the budget.
Brown said that as he considered the spending plan, he wants to find a middle ground between Montgomery County's more and less affluent residents.
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