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Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or pgould@freelancestar.com. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or rsidersky@freelancestar.com.

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Bits & Pieces

- The City Attorney is moving today. She’s vacating leased space (at about $18,000 a year) on Princess Anne Street and moving into part of the old police headquarters, which shares a building with the General District Court. Phone number stays the same. We’ll be writing more in the near future about the renovations to the General District Court building and some other moves that will be happening on Princess Anne Street.

- The council last night voted to accept 10 acres adjoining the Cobblestone Square apartment/condo complex that the developer had pledged to donate as part of the proffer package back when that project was approved. The land is slated to be a "passive park" (governmentese for "cheap to maintain") with some trails.

- Mark Warner’s visiting downtown tomorrow afternoon as he campaigns for another Warner’s U.S. Senate seat. City Beat will be there.

- On a completely unrelated note, The New York Times ran an interesting story this weekend on nonprofit tax exemptions, and how the lines can be fuzzy. This is something I’ve come across in covering city government in Virginia. In Lynchburg, for example, there are nonprofit children’s museums who don’t get a tax exemption, while nonprofit arts groups do get the exemption. The difference sometimes comes down to when and how a group asks the City Council to be taken off the tax rolls. The Times story was about a specific case in Minnesota, but I thought these paragraphs drew an interesting parallel with the recent discussions here about tax incentives. From the story:

In determining which organizations qualify for exemption, assessors in Minnesota rely on the State Constitution, which explicitly exempts things like public burial grounds, seminaries and colleges and universities from taxation, and on six criteria set out in a 1975 State Supreme Court decision.

Mr. May said that the determination process had become increasingly difficult, however, noting that the Mall of America, a major tourist attraction, was seeking tax exemptions as part of its plans to expand, arguing that it aids the state economy by drawing visitors.

“From our perspective in the assessment field, it’s harder to define what’s a nonprofit these days because there are so many different types, and many of them are doing the same thing for-profit groups that aren’t exempt are doing,” he said.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/citybeat/2008/05/28/bits-pieces/