Windsor OKs 22-percent water rate increase

Published 10:51 am Thursday, June 14, 2012


WINDSOR—The Windsor Town Council on Tuesday approved a 22-percent water rate increase and a 1-cent increase for its meals tax after no one favored or opposed either during public hearings.

The average water bill of $35.50 every two months will jump to $42.99; the increase is needed to pay down debt on the system.

The current rate generates $357,250 annually; the new rate should yield about $416,000, or $60,000 more. New rates will go into effect on July 1.

Councilman N. Macon Edwards III questioned the need for the increase on the meals tax, which went from 4 cents to 5 cents. The 20 percent increase should bring in $41,000 annually.

“We ought not to raise the tax,” Edwards said. “I’m not in favor of it this year, but I’m not saying let’s not look at it next year.”

He told The Tidewater News after the meeting he studied the revenue taken in so far.

“Even without raising the meals tax, we could meet the budget,” Edwards said.

He also questioned how town officials can verify they’re getting the correct amount on the meals tax.

“We’re looking at how to spot-check on the meals tax being paid correctly,” Mayor Carita Richardson said. “There’s no oversight on it. The concern is that the amount is correct, and periodic checks will be done later.”

Councilman J. Clinton Bryant asked how Windsor compares with surrounding municipalities. Smithfield will go from 5 percent to 6 percent.

Franklin and Suffolk are at 6½ percent. Add to each, the state’s tax of 5 percent.

“I’d rather raise the meals tax and lower the real estate tax,” said Vice Mayor Wesley Garris.