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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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Morning Buzz — Nov. 25, 2009
A daily digest of what’s going on in Fredericksburg, and what news from elsewhere is relevant here. Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Virginia’s restaurant smoking ban nears its Dec. 1 start date, here’s something for restaurant owners to think about: When all those smokers head right outside your doors to light up, don’t forget to make sure they’re not turning the neighborhood into a pig stye. I just spent 30 minutes hearing from one downtown business owner about the litter–cigarette butts, cigarette wrappers, drink containers–that gets left in front of his shop, in his neighbors’ flower pots and out in the street by folks who step outside the restaurant next door for a smoke.
Tax exemptions and city contributions for nonprofit entities have been at issue in Fredericksburg over the past few years, most notably when the Slavery Museum asked to be exempt from paying taxes on the vacant land it owns in Celebrate Virginia. Tax exemptions are just one way a local government can contribute to a nonprofit, though. Fredericksburg and other localities also include direct contributions to some groups in their budgets. City Council members here have struggled with how and why these gifts are made. The Daily Press editorial board offers discussion today about these practices. Their conclusion:
Taxpayers should choose for themselves where their contributions go, and make them voluntarily. Especially with budgets tight and more residents in dire straits, every city and county should be cautious about diverting public money to private agencies, however good their intentions.