Possible tax rate increase in Hopewell

by Nicole Bell - bio | email
posted by Chris Berdoz - email

HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Hopewell residents could soon see an increase in their personal property tax rate. City council is scheduled to vote on the issue tomorrow. Without a tax rate hike city leaders say they'll loose some $700,000 in revenue, which would ultimately impact services for citizens.

Elfriede Aultman has called Hopewell home for more than 50 years. She's not happy about the possibility of paying more in personal property taxes.

"There are so many other things we have to pay, winter heating and all of this. I don't want to pay more." Aultman said.

City leaders say an increase is needed because personal property items such as vehicles, on average, have depreciated in value. As a result, keeping the same tax rate would not generate  4 million dollars, which is what  the city collected last year for personal property taxes.

"Therefore we have to adjust the rate in order to keep this revenue neutral. It doesn't gain any new money for the city." said Hopewell City Manager Ed Daley.

The current personal property tax rate in Hopewell is three dollars. Five cents per $100 of assessed value. The proposed increase ranges from 55 to 95 cents. Several options include eliminating the city's decal fee.

"And a higher tax rate doesn't necessarily translate into a higher bill" said Daley.

That's because the value of the personal property may have dropped more than the proposed tax rate increase.

"Some vehicles may have gone down more that what the rate has changed, so they may have an increase, and somebody else's vehicle may have gone down less and they wouldn't see an increase." Daley said.

As for Elfriede Aultman, she wants the rate to stay put.

City council is expected to vote in the measure tomorrow night. A second vote will take place in October. A tax rate must be set no later than november 1st.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday starting at 6pm in the muncipal building, which is located at 300 N. Main street in Hopewell. The meeting is open to the public.

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