Colonial Heights: Higher taxes to fund new courthouse

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA (WWBT) - Prepare to pay more -- tax rates are going up! Colonial Heights is raising taxes on property and food in order to help pay for the construction of a new $23 million courthouse.

"A town of our size doesn't have the ability to absorb that kind of cost without an additional revenue stream. It's appropriate Colonial Heights have a new courthouse. Ours is outdated and obsolete," said City Manager, Thomas Mattis.

The local food tax rate will increase by 1% -- bringing the rate to 6%. The property tax rate will increase by 4 cents -- from  $1.10 to $1.14 for every $100 of assessed value.

At What-A-Burger Restaurant the owner, Pearl Branch, is worried about losing business.

"I think it will hurt business definitely. I think people will spend less money eating out," said Branch.

One customer, who's a regular at the restaurant, agrees.

"As a cab driver I have to eat out often and if taxes keep going up I'm going to start bringing my own lunch again," said Dwight Lee.

The increases will generate $1.5 million yearly.

"The food tax revenue and property tax revenue are by far our strongest revenue sources. So to make the nearly $2 million annual debt payment it's fairly simple - those are the only two sources we could go to," said Mattis.

Homeowner, Mary Jo Burden, doesn't mind the property tax increase.

"It's really not a lot -- not a lot for something we need," she said.

The city is projecting an overall decrease in reassessments this year -- meaning the increase in the property tax will essentially be off-set.

The tax increases will take effect in February.

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