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License plate tax nixed by town council

Town council opted at Monday’s work session not to pursue a proposed amendment adding a local license plate tax on vehicle owners who do not display current Virginia plates.

The purpose of the amendment was to levy and impose a local license plate tax and a penalty for failure to register a vehicle in Virginia as required by state law.

The amendment called for the town to levy an annual local license plate tax of $100 upon owners of motor vehicles that do not display current Virginia license plates and are not exempt.

It also called for a $250 penalty upon the resident owner of any motor vehicles that, following the end of a 30-day period, is required to be registered in Virginia but has not been so registered.

Council had discussed the proposed ordinance at its past two meetings but decided Monday enforcement would present problems due to the number of possible exemptions, the most visible being antique cars, military vehicles and those designated for farm use, in addition to those stored in a building or inoperable for other reasons.

“The only population we’re looking at here are the driving public,” said Town Manager Ted Daniel. 

“From an enforcement standpoint, there are a lot of exemptions.  We have citizens who keep inactive or inoperable vehicles stored on their property without current registration.

“Domicile is the whole issue in enforcing this law. It’s a matter of prudent enforcement,” Daniel added.

Council agreed it had been over the same ground before in past discussions, with the number of possible exemptions and the difficulty of enforcing the ordinance the primary sticking points.

The finance committee and council as a whole subsequently agreed to drop discussion of the proposed ordinance.


Finance report

Town Finance Officer Erle Scott reported year-to-date revenues of $8,301,22 (81 percent of goal), including $8,087,279 in current year revenues and $213,942 in prior year revenues.

The cash operating general fund reflected positive totals of $27,333, and year-to-date balance of $2,113,846.

Each of selected general fund revenues were approaching 100 percent of goal or had surpassed it, Scott reported.

The finance director said categorical aid collections stood at $2,480,458, or 111 percent of goal but added current real estate tax collections were $10,600 short of its goal of $860,000.

Local tax collections currently stood at $370,542, or 96 percent of goal as of April 30, while occupancy tax collections stood at $129,565 or 113 percent of budget.

Meals tax collections reflected totals of $1,048,113, or 98 percent of its goal of $1.1 million, Scott reported.

Delinquent tax collections, including fees stood at $234,369.81, or 189 percent of goal.

The finance committee also advanced to its June meeting a request from Scott to charge off delinquent taxes, including $18,697.83 in delinquent real estate and $1,402.70 in charge-offs from the recent non-judicial sale of seven parcels.


Fee and tax listing

The fee and tax listing for FY 2014-15 was advanced to council’s agenda for its June 9 meeting, including several additions.

Additions include a $10 fee for certified copy of a cemetery deed, a $75 per hour rental fee for the Washington-Coleman Community Center in addition to a $200 refundable deposit if no damages occur and a $100 custom set-up fee.

Additions also include a $75 fireworks permit, a $150 charge for a dangerous dog certificate plus an annual renewal fee of $85 and a $200 per year charge for a precious metals and gems permit.

The fee and tax listing will be considered along with adoption of the proposed 2014-15 budget at council’s June meeting.


Council appointments

Council recommended the following residents for appointment to a number of boards and commissions at Monday’s meeting. 

It recommended Frank Lee and George Burton be re-appointed to the South Boston Industrial Development Authority for another four-year term; George Leonard and Coleman Speece be reappointed to four-year and three-year terms on the Southside Planning District Commission; Ann Conner to a four-year term on the Halifax County-South Boston Public Library Board of Trustees; and Jim Binner for a three-year term on the Southside VASAP Board.