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The Board of Supervisors is considering leaving Hanover’s real estate tax rate at its present level, $0.81 per $100 of assessed value, despite concerns that the board should advertise a rate higher than the current level.
County Administrator Rhu Harris’ $372.6 million did not recommend raising taxes in his Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal, which the board heard at its Feb. 27 meeting.
After the presentation, the board needed to authorize advertising the budget for a public hearing on April 3.
Once a tax rate is advertised, state law allows the board to adopt a lower rate but not a higher one—at least, not without re-advertising and holding another public hearing.
With this in mind, Chickahominy Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek suggested advertising a higher rate for the purposes of discussion as the board receives more detailed information throughout the next month.
“In previous years, had we not given ourselves a little room such that as we receive detailed presentations, if we see something that disturbs us or brings us pause, that we would not have some room to move on that?
“And would that not also give our citizens greater ability to come forward and tell us what they think? Would that perhaps not even provide a more balanced approach between some of the people who came forward and said they want something more? That might encourage more folks to come out and tell us they want something less,” she explained.
Board chairman Canova Peterson of Mechanicsville responded, “We’re advertising for a public hearing. That never stops us from responding to the public hearing with another if we decided to make a change.”
County Attorney Sterling Rives reminded the board of the time constraints involved in this process, as a budget needs to be adopted by April 30.
Harris said that the county treasurer, Scott Miller, has typically requested that the board adopt a budget and tax rates by the second or third week of April so he can issue tax bills in a timely manner.
The board authorized advertising the $0.81 tax rate, which has remained steady since 2007, when the sitting board of supervisors lowered the levy from $0.86 per $100 of assessed value.