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Finance committee proposing 2-cent real estate hike

Finance committee members are expected to recommend April 1 that the Halifax County Board of Supervisors raise the real estate tax rate by two cents from its present rate of 45 cents to 47 cents per $100 assessed value.

Each penny increase would generate $359,000 in additional income for a total of $718,000.

Finance Committee Chairman Doug Bowman met with committee members ED-1 Supervisor J. T. Davis and ED-3 Supervisor William “Bill” Fitzgerald along with County Administrator Jim Halasz and Finance Director Stephanie Jackson Thursday afternoon to discuss budget recommendations that may be made to the full board April 1.

When advertising the real estate tax rate, supervisors had set the limit taxes could be raised at 47 cents saying it would “offer them flexibility.”

Despite Finance Chairman Bowman’s earlier statement that the advertised 2-cent increase was “for advertising purposes only,” finance committee members said Thursday they planned to suggest the board use two-thirds of the first penny increase to provide additional school funding ($240,000) and commit the remaining one-third of the penny to the general fund balance.

The other penny increase is earmarked for courthouse renovations that are not optional, the finance committee chairman said.

“We have to stay in control of this project,” Bowman said.

In addition to raising the real estate tax rate by two cents to 47 cents, finance members plan to suggest supervisors contribute a total of $600,000 above current year funding to the county school budget making the county’s contribution $13,506,000.

Earlier staff had recommended total county funding of $13,267,529 compared to the school board’s original request for $16,630,336.

Concerning fees, finance committee members discussed retaining memberships in the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce at a cost of $3,200 and in the Roanoke River Basin Association to help continue the fight against uranium mining at a cost of $3,930.

Also suggested was eliminating only $50,000 from the Halifax County Industrial Development Authority contribution instead of the $100,000 earlier proposed by staff. 

Supervisors are scheduled to set the tax rates at its Monday, April 1, meeting.