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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: June 5, 2019

City Council OKs tax hikes to fund schools

Photo of Council Chambers

City Council voted Tuesday night to raise taxes on real estate, personal property and lodging to invest additional money in public schools, better support the Danville Life Saving Crew, and provide a current revenue source for projects designed to grow Danville.

The increases are as follows:

  • A four-cent increase in the real estate tax rate from 80 cents per $100 of assessed value to 84 cents per $100 of assessed value.
  • A one percentage point increase in the hotel/motel occupancy tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. The increase will be effective on July 1.
  • A 10-cent increase in the tangible personal property tax from $3.50 per $100 of assessed value to $3.60 per $100 of assessed value. The increase will be effective Jan. 1.

City Council also voted to implement a fee of $2 per night of lodging for each room at any hotel and the rental of any short-term rental home. The fee will take effect on July 1.

Public hearings were held on the tax increases and the room occupancy fee last month.

The 10-cent increase in the personal property tax will provide a current revenue source for economic development grants and incentives to grow Danville. For the past several years, reserve funds were used to pay for much of the program.

The room occupancy fee is projected to generate nearly $260,000, which will be used to increase local funding – from $80,000 to $360,000 – for the Danville Life Saving Crew.

The increases in the real estate tax rate and hotel/motel occupancy tax will generate additional funds for Danville Public Schools. The schools will receive an additional $2.3 million or 11.2 percent. The spending increase pushes local funding for school operations to $22.6 million.

The budget also includes $2 million in bond proceeds to be used by the school system to pay for capital expenses like roof and HVAC equipment replacements and other building repairs.

City Council has one final step to take in the budget process. That step is the final adoption of the full budget. Final adoption is scheduled for the June 18 meeting.

The final budget will serve as a framework for city operations from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.

For utilities, there is a projected natural gas rate decrease of 4 percent. The average residential gas customer will see a 4.7 percent decrease in their bill.

Also, there is a $0.20 per cubic foot sewer rate decrease that is offset by a water rate increase of the same amount, which, when combined, would have zero impact on utility bills for customers who have both water and sewer service – the vast majority of customers.

Several other matters were on the agenda Tuesday night. City Council voted to:

  • Accept a grant of $117,083 for the continuation of the City's Victim Witness Assistance Program, which is operated through the Commonwealth Attorney's Office.
  • Accept a grant of $44,635 to be used to fund the salary of an attorney or victim's advocate to work in the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court dealing with victims of domestic violence.
  • Appoint/reappoint 19 people to various boards and commissions, including the Airport Commission, Utility Commission, and Danville Development Council.
  • Adopt recommended changes to the City of Danville personnel regulations, compensation plan, and classification plan.
  • Grant a special use permit to allow Riverside BP to expand a building at 3027 Riverside Drive.
  • Rezone the former YWCA building at 750 Main St. and grant a special use permit to allow the building to be used for a restaurant, commercial kitchen, and indoor recreational facility.
  • Rezone the property at 201 Eastwood Drive and grant a special use permit to allow for product manufacturing involving hemp processing.
  • Convey 0.843 acres of land at 119 Cane Creek Blvd. in Airside Industrial Park to allow the Industrial Development Authority to complete the sale of property to PRA Group. 
  • Approve a resolution supporting a request by LifePoint Health for implementation of a local hospital fee to support the additional Medicaid payments for which SOVAH Health Danville qualifies.

A first reading was held on granting a lump sum bonus to qualified City of Danville retirees. A first reading is an introductory step required by City Code before certain matters can be voted upon by City Council. This procedural step serves to provide public notice of pending action. The Council could not vote on the matter Tuesday night. The earliest vote that can take place will be the June 18 City Council meeting.

Also in the business session, Mayor Alonzo Jones issued a proclamation that proclaimed the month of June as “LGBTQ Pride Month.” The proclamation also applauded the efforts of Danville citizens to promote diversity and inclusion.

Council's meeting included a business session followed by a work session. In work sessions, Council reviews non-routine matters that may be voted upon in future business meetings.

During the work session, the City Council discussed a plan for projects and activities supported by the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investments Partnership Program (HOME) funds.

In addition, City Council held a closed meeting as allowed by state law to discuss a prospective business or industry related to economic development and to discuss the acquisition of real property or disposition of publicly held real property.  

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