By. Bryan Rothamel, Field Officer
Fluvanna County’s Board of Supervisors only have two main options when it comes to revenue to fill the budget: personal property or real estate taxes.
Wednesday night (3/7) the Board looked at additional options for revenue.
“We are a two trick county: real estate and personal property [taxes],” said Steve Nichols, county administrator.
Staff recommended the board further research and look to implement business, professional and occupational licenses (BPOL) fee and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) revenue recovery. Further more, staff recommended examining a meals tax.
BPOL fee would be a flat charge yearly to every business in the county. A BPOL tax would be based on a percentage of business revenue but was not thought to be the best to implement for the county.
“Is [BPOL fee] worth the pain you go through?” said Bob Ullenbruch (Palmyra District).
Ullenbruch said it would cause a lot of uproar with businesses and would only generate minimal amount of revenue.
Nelson County County charges $30 a business per year. It generates $32,610 per year. Some counties chose to implement both a fee and a tax but Fluvanna looks to explore the fee only.
“it is perfectly understandable a business doesn’t want to pay a tax,” said Tony O’Brien (Rivanna District).
The EMS recovery option would potentially generate around $500,000 a year. Louisa, who takes more than twice as many calls as Fluvanna, brings in $966,710 in FY13.
The revenue recovery would bring in more than the county currently pays to operate emergency services. It could help pay for things like equipment or part-time staffing.
The plan would be ‘compassionate billing’ which would institute a way for those who showed an inability to pay, the possibility to have the charge removed.
Of the nine counties in the surrounding area, all have revenue recovery except Cumberland.
Staff also recommended supervisors finalize a proffer guidance document and review why some current fees the county collects are significantly lower than its peers.
One idea with additional revenue is to help supplant the current personal property tax. Fluvanna charges $4.15 per $100 assessed. Louisa charges $1.90.
Every nickel of Fluvanna’s personal property tax is $86,000 of revenue.
Measures like fees could be implemented for FY16. A meals tax would require a referendum and counties have had trouble passing such a measure. Currently Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange have a 4 percent meals tax.
Staff is expected to give more information on the items the board have agreed to further examine later this year.
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Photo Credit: Fluvanna County