HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Voters will decide on a four-percent meals tax referendum in Henrico in less than two weeks,.
County Manager John Vithoulkas says half of the money generated for the tax will go towards things like classroom renovations and infrastructure improvements, once funded at the state and local level but the revenue is no longer coming in.
Along with serving up a side of chili with your meal, owner Joey Mirabile of Joey's Hot Dogs in Innsbrook is also including a political point of view.
"The county is saying past the meals tax or starve the schools," he said. "You really think they're going to starve the schools?"
He's spreading his point of view: no to the meals tax. He's attaching stickers saying just that to to go orders.
If it passes, Mirabile has to add four-percent to your bill. The money will go towards schools. Mirabile says he's not against investing in our children, he's against the way information in favor of the tax has been distributed. He says the message about schools, students and teachers suffering is a scare tactic.
"They're manipulating the vote and that's the part I feel is wrong more than anything else," he said.
Vithoulkas says the County is making sure people are staying informed, no matter what side you're on.
"We have made a significant effort to have meetings at high schools, we've had many, many groups call in and request information from the county," said Vithoulkas.
"We see the meals tax as an investment into our quality of life," says Laura Lafayette. She's the chief executive officer with the Richmond Association of Realtors. That organization has contributed thousands of dollars to support the referendum.
"You can have a meals tax, a real estate tax or deep cuts in programs that will affect the quality of your children's education," she said.
Vithoulkas wants voters to know at least this much, "The key point for Henrico is that this meals tax is generated by the visitor largely that is coming into Henrico and it would be entirely dedicated to and for our schools system."
If the tax does pass Vithoulkas says the Board of Supervisors will be asked to vote on an ordinance that fully dedicates the proceeds to schools. He says $60,000 has been spent by the county on getting information out on the meals tax.