Proposed tax hikes up for hearing

Published 9:38 am Saturday, May 15, 2010

COURTLAND—Southampton County residents can sound off on tax and fee hikes included in the county’s proposed budget at a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, May 17, in the auditorium at Southampton High School.

The Board of Supervisors agreed last month to increase the real estate and personal property tax rates to close a $1.85 million gap in the county’s draft budget.

Under the plan, the county would increase its real estate tax rate by 5 cents, to 77 cents, and increase the personal property tax rate for vehicles by one dollar, to $5.50. If approved, the increases are expected to generate $1.37 million in revenue for the county.

The move isn’t sitting well with some county residents.

“They didn’t make any attempt to cut the waste within the government,” said county resident Glenn Updike. “If they’d made an effort to cut the waste, I think the citizens would accept some tax increase.”

Some residents are circulating a petition against the proposed tax hikes.

An advertisement in today’s edition of The Tidewater News lists the telephone numbers of all of the members of the county’s Board of Supervisors and urges residents to turn out in force at Monday’s public hearing.

“If you feel a change in direction for Southampton County is needed, please call any of your supervisors today and take time Monday night to make a difference,” the advertisement reads. It says that it was paid for by “concerned citizens of Southampton.”

Updike also encouraged county residents to come to Monday night’s hearing.

“It’s up to all of us to speak up,” he said.