By Randy Arrington
STANLEY, May 11 — After advertising a three-cent increase to the tax rate on real estate, the Stanley Council unanimously voted to raise the levy only a penny following a public hearing on Wednesday at the Stanley Fire Hall.
The real estate tax rate within Stanley’s corporate limits will increase from its current rate of $0.25 (per $100 of assessed value) to $0.26 for the upcoming 2022-23 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
There were no speakers for or against the tax increase at the public hearing, but one resident posed a question about the need for the increase. Town Manager Terry Pettit said the additional $10,000 in revenue generated by a one-cent increase on real estate (up 4 percent) will help meet increasing costs to provide services and raise salaries for town employees. Pettit said the additional revenue “will cover our needs.”
While tax rates on personal property, lodging, meals and cigarettes will all remain the same, the Town could see additional revenue from the levy on personal property as values rise for used vehicles.
The Stanley Council will address water and sewer rates at a future meeting, but both are expected to increase in the next fiscal year.
Council has scheduled a budget workshop for 7 p.m. next Wednesday, May 18.
In other business at its May 11 meeting, the Stanley Council took the following actions:
• Heard that the Town of Stanley recently won second place in the “Best Tasting Water Contest” at the Virginia Rural Water Conference in Roanoke. Top honors, held by Stanley in previous years, was claimed this year by Lee County in southwestern Virginia. The Town’s annual drinking water report has been drafted and is available to the public by mail, the town office or social media.
• Unanimously voted to set a joint public hearing with the Stanley Planning Commission on June 8 for a rezoning request from Tom Wright to allow expansion of commercial property at the southern end of town. Wright described the addition to the building that currently houses the Hidden Acres outdoor store owned by Ronnie Stoneberger and the Total Look beauty salon owned by Suzanna Painter. The expansion — estimated to cost between $150,000 and $200,000 — will create more than 5,100 square feet of retail space. Wright plans to open an appliance store on the upper level, while the beauty salon plans to expand and add a sauna, massage therapy and a nail studio. Hidden Acres will move to the lower level, which will also have a vacant space available for rent.
• Unanimously voted to appoint Tom Wright as the Stanley representative to the Page County Economic Development Authority. The position has been vacant for some time.
• Heard a report that many compliments have been received about the veteran banners lining Main Street. Around 40 more banners have been ordered, according to Town Manager Terry Pettit, bringing the total to about 160 (or more). While Pettit said the banners already ordered will “go up as soon as we get them,” further orders will not be displayed until November for Veterans Day. The banners being currently displayed will remain up through the Town’s Homecoming celebration June 29 through July 2.
• Heard a report on federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds received by the Town, including $509,149 allocated in this spending cycle and $320,125.29 remaining in this fiscal year. The biggest ticket item purchased with ARPA funds this fiscal year was the Quarles building, which will soon become the new police headquarters, at a cost of $126,630. Other projects included police vehicles, sidewalk repair, supplies for Well No. 7 project, and various equipment. Stanley officials expect another federal allocation of more than $800,000 in the next fiscal year.
• Unanimously voted to authorize Town Manager Terry Pettit to secure two bids to address storm water drainage issues at Ed Good Park. Pettit noted that the work needed to be completed before Homecoming, which starts in late June.
• Heard a report that the county permit to build a dog park at Hawksbill Park has been recommended for approval by the Page County Planning Commission, and the Page County Board of Supervisors has set a public hearing on the issue for 7 p.m. on Monday, June 6.
• Heard that the Town Manager will be seeking bids on painting the outside of the proposed museum building behind Town Hall prior to the start of Homecoming in late June.
• Heard a report that materials have arrived (after a long wait) and the long-talked about Well No. 7 project is slated to begin Wednesday, June 1.
• Heard a report that the Town’s Easter egg hunt drew 78 local kids who registered to find the 5,400 eggs filled with candy and prizes. The Easter Bunny was available for photos, and the barrel train made numerous runs.
• Heard a report that pool parties at the Hawksbill Pool are filling up fast, with 15 scheduled already. The community pool officially opens for the season on Saturday, May 28.
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