Katie Thisdell reports on news from Stafford County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 540/735-1975.
Admissions tax proposed to benefit unnamed project in Stafford
A project that’s in the discussion stage in Stafford could benefit from an admissions tax.
Stafford’s Board of Supervisors will discuss asking the General Assembly for enabling legislation as part of its priorities for the 2013 session. That’s among the items on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, which begins at 2 p.m.
The proposed tax wouldn’t affect any existing venues that require admission taxes, said deputy county administrator Tim Baroody. It would be specifically for the one “potential economic development prospect.”
Baroody couldn’t give many details about the project. This is “an effort to see if the board is interested in taking it to the next level,” Baroody said.
State code allows for localities to charge an admission tax for events at various types of venues, such as museums, theaters or sports stadiums. Each locality may enforce the tax differently. For example, in Richmond, there’s a 7 percent tax on admission to “to any place of amusement or entertainment where the admission fee is fifty cents ($.50) or more.”
“We’re trying to get on par with those localities” that do charge an admission tax, Baroody said. He emphasized that if the board decides to proceed, as written, the tax would just be set for the one project that’s still in the discussion stage.
The board would make the decision on how to use any incoming revenue. For example, Baroody said the board could choose to use 100 percent of the revenue for infrastructure to support the prospect, or at lower percentages with different uses. “Those decisions are far from being made at this point,” Baroody said.
At the Dec. 4 board meeting, supervisors adopted four other legislative priorities that they hope will advance in Richmond. Here they are, as written in county documents:
- Freedom of Information Act; Electronic Communication Meetings by Local and Regional Public Bodies. This expands the authority for the conduct of electronic communication meetings to all public bodies. Currently, local public bodies are prohibited from conducting public meetings in this manner, except when the Governor declares a state of emergency.
- Reversing “Aid to Localities” and Fulfilling State Commitments. For the past three fiscal years, the Commonwealth reported a revenue surplus, which is a sign of both conservative forecasting and economic growth. If the trend continues for a fourth year, the County expects to see continued gains in funding for local governments.
- SJR-297 Study. A recent study by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (VDRPT) recommends changes to the allocation of funds to transportation agencies partially funded by Stafford County, and providing transit services to the Stafford County residents. The changes suggested have the potential to reduce the amounts allocated to the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and the Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED) system. The General Assembly is scheduled to take up this matter next year and County staff recommends this legislative initiative to ensure that funding allocations are maintained at current levels.
- Cost to compete. There is a state formula to determine what it costs to educate a child. Communities are offered augmented funding depending on the wage scale in each locality. Stafford County is currently at 25% and desires to raise the augmented funding to 100%. (Here’s a recent story from reporter Chelyen Davis on the cost to compete.)