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Gloucester voters to decide on local sales tax

The Gloucester Board of Supervisors voted to hold a referendum on the November ballot to institute a local sales tax not to exceed 1 percent to fund renovations to Gloucester County Public Schools during its Aug. 5 meeting.

The referendum was made possible by a vote of the Virginia General Assembly, authorizing Gloucester County to levy the local sales tax for construction or renovation of county schools.

The referendum has been a long time coming for the board of supervisors. “It only took us two years to get to this point,” commented board member Ashley Chriscoe.

In March of this year, it was reported that the increase of the tax rate would be from 5.3 percent to 6 percent, which would put the rate closer to that of localities in Hampton Roads.

“This is a good way to fund the renovations for the high school,” said board chair Phillip Bazzani, “if the taxpayers are willing to pay the additional penny to allow this to happen.”

County Attorney Ted Wilmot addressed the wording in the resolution that suggested that funds could be used for construction of a new high school instead of just renovations. He said the resolution mirrors legislation from the General Assembly.

“It doesn’t lock the board of supervisors into approving any particular construction project,” said Wilmot, who pointed out that if construction is needed in the future, the wording would allow the board to fund it using the sales tax.

The board voted unanimously to hold the referendum, which will be placed before county voters on Nov. 3. If approved by Gloucester County residents, the tax levy will expire no later than July 2040.