Gloucester County Administrator Brenda Garton presented her $108.4 million proposed fiscal year 2012 county budget to the public and the Gloucester Board of Supervisors during Tuesday night’s board meeting in the colonial courthouse.
The proposed budget is balanced with a real estate tax rate of 58 cents, and a personal property tax rate of $2.60, figures that would remain unchanged from the current rates.
However, supervisors voted by a 5-2 margin Tuesday night to advertise a real estate tax rate of 61 cents, a three-cent increase, for the sole purpose of allowing flexibility if there is public outcry for a service or initiative that is not included in the proposed budget.
Garton had also suggested advertising a $2.60 tax rate on boats not solely used for business purposes. This would have been a $1.60 increase from the current rate. However, after a number of residents spoke out against the change during the public comment period, supervisors voted to keep the rate on these boats advertised at $1. All other tax rates will remain advertised at the same level where they are currently set.
Ware district supervisor Gregory Woodard said he did not want to see any higher tax rate advertised. "I’d like to see no (advertised) increase on boat taxes or anything else," he said.
At-large supervisor Michelle Ressler said she received a lot of "kick-back" last year when she voted against advertising a higher real estate tax rate. "I don’t intend on making the same mistake this year," she said. "I will agree to advertise a higher tax rate for a thorough discussion on the proposed budget."
Abingdon district supervisor Buddy Rilee, at-large supervisor Louise Theberge and Gloucester Point district supervisor Bobby Crewe were each concerned about advertising the higher rate on boats. "I think we should split the difference here," Crewe said, supporting the advertised increase on real estate, but not boats.
"I’m not going to vote for any tax increase, period. Advertise what you want to," Petsworth District supervisor John Northstein said.