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Some taxes to rise in Colonial Beach

The Colonial Beach Town Council approved an increase on meals, lodging and cigarette taxes as well as its 2013–2014 budget of $6,524,646 after a work session and special meeting Thursday.

Effective Aug. 1, meals and lodging taxes will both increase from 4 percent to 5 percent, and the cigarette tax will increase from 25 cents to 30 cents a pack, both of which fill the $90,000 gap the council faced at the start.

Before the council members passed the budget, they voted and passed council member Gary Seeber’s amendment to the resolution.

The amendment will take $50,000 from the School Board budget and instead add it to the town’s general fund to pay for a 2 percent raise for town employee salaries and environmental, erosion and sediment control.

After more than four hours of discussion without reaching consensus, the town council passed the budget with council member Linda Brubaker dissenting.

Brubaker was against the 2 percent increase to town salaries funded by the school budget’s $50,000, and said she would rather wait six months before a vote on the raises, after an evaluation could be done on the employees.

Before the budget passed, there was discussion and disagreement about the proposed real estate tax increase and the funding of the school budget.

Brubaker said multiple times, “I’m not going to vote for a real estate tax increase.”

Council members Jim Chiarello and Wanda Goforth also agreed they would not vote on a real estate tax increase.

“We need to attract more homeowners, more residents, and we’re not going to do that if we keep raising taxes,” Goforth said.

However, council member Tim Curtin said he was willing to raise real estate taxes to help the town.

“I’m appalled that we’re even at this point this year,” Curtin said, explaining that nothing is being done to reverse the decline of town infrastructure, such as the boardwalk.

Curtin also disagreed with relying on the increase of meals, lodging and cigarette taxes to balance their budget.

“If it works, great, but we’re raising taxes on discretionary spending in hopes revenue will rise,” he said.

Regina Weiss: 540/374-5417

rweiss@freelancestar.com

 

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