Luray to advertise higher tax rates

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LURAY — At its March 14th meeting, the Luray Council unanimously voted to advertise higher tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year in order to cover rising costs and several new positions.

While a governing body may advertise higher rates and eventually vote for a lower figure, they may not increase tax rates above those publicly advertised for public hearing.

New positions are being proposed in several departments, which would drive up expenses. While federal ARPA funds are being used for infrastructure, capital improvements and easing the tension on local governments’ general funds, the relief dollars are not being earmarked for any ongoing expenses such as personnel.

New positions initially proposed in the police department, recreation department and the treasurer’s office would increase the general fund by an estimated $290,000.

At least one new position at both the water and sewer plants is being mandated by the state in order to meet current regulations. That will likely push monthly rates on those utilities up to cover the additional costs. Water and sewer revenues and expenses are channeled through an enterprise fund that is separate from the Town’s general fund. The enterprise fund is designed to be self-sufficient, with rates based on the direct costs to provide the service.

The council will hold a public hearing on the advertised tax rates at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11, with a final budget approved in either May or June. The current fiscal year ends on June 30, with the new budget going into effect July 1.

On March 14, the Luray Council unanimously approved the following FY2022-23 Tax Rates to be advertised for an April 11 public hearing:

Real estate tax rate from $0.27 to $0.29 (per $100 of assessed value);

Meals and Beverage Tax Rate from 4 to 5 percent;

Transient Occupancy Tax Rate from 5 to 6 percent;

Cigarette tax rate from $0.15 to $0.20 per pack.

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