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The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.

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Will Port Royal get bigger?

The Port Royal Town Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday night on plans to increase its size.

The boundary changes—agreed upon by the Town Council and the Caroline County Board of Supervisors in October—would still grow the town significantly, but less so than first proposed.

The plan now is to decrease the amount of land west of U.S. 301 that would become part of the town.

The compromise between the town, the county and farmers who were unhappy with the town’s initial proposal would add about 26 acres west of U.S. 301. The boundary line would be drawn about 500 feet west of the highway. It amounts to about a quarter of the land west of U.S. 301 that was originally considered to be part of the town.

The town wants to expand from its current 78 acres to bring in more tax revenue so it can remain independent and not be absorbed by Caroline County.

Right now, money is tight in the town along the Rappahannock River, and basic functions such as providing streetlights, repairing sidewalks and trimming the trees can’t be done regularly.

The town is also facing a need to replace the decades-old water system.

The change would allow the town to fold businesses along U.S. 301 and U.S. 17 into its boundaries and onto its tax rolls. That would generate an estimated $60,000 more in revenue a year through meals and beverage taxes as well as business license taxes.

The town had 126 residents last year and taxes generate about $18,000 annually through occasional grants, parking decal fees, local sales taxes, a business license tax, a utility tax it receives from Dominion Virginia Power and a communications tax it gets from Verizon. The town doesn’t collect any real estate taxes—those go to the county.

The public hearing for the proposed boundary change will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday and the regular Town Council meeting, when the council will vote on the boundary line adjustment, will follow. Both will take place in Town Hall, 419 King St.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413

rsidersky@freelancestar.com

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