By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: April 30, 2019 | 1:45 p.m.
DINWIDDIE – Checking off another box in their annual budget-building process, county leaders formally adopted the county’s tax levies for the upcoming year, locking in rates for the next fiscal year, which includes a drop in Dinwiddie’s personal property tax rate.
Supervisors unanimously adopted the levies during a public hearing this month, which saw all of the county’s rates remain the same, except the personal property tax levy, which has now dropped by 15 cents to $4.75 per $100 of assessed value.
According to county officials, this is the first time in several decades the personal property tax rate has been decreased in Dinwiddie County. When comparing surrounding localities, Dinwiddie is on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to personal property tax rates, even with the latest reduction.
Per information provided by each community’s treasurer’s office, Chesterfield County’s personal property tax rate currently sits at $3.60 per $100 of assessed value while Prince George’s current rate rests at $4.25 per $100 of assessed value.
Dinwiddie County’s rate is now lower than Sussex’s personal property tax levy of $4.85 per $100 of assessed value, but higher than neighboring Surry County’s current rate of $4.00 per $100 of assessed value and Amelia’s $4.20 per $100 of assessed value.
In addition, Dinwiddie’s Personal Property Tax Relief percentage, which is available for any car, truck, motorcycle, or panel truck that has a registered gross weight of fewer than 10,000 pounds and is used 50 percent or less for business purposes, was changed to 37 percent instead of 36 percent.
The rest of the county’s rates remain the same as they are currently, with real estate, mobile home, mineral land, and public services taxes staying at 79 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Machinery and tools and heavy construction taxes also remain level at $3.00 per $100 of assessed value.
In addition, personal property taxes for volunteer vehicles will stay at 25 cents per $100 of assessed value and airplanes will continue to be assessed at 50 cents per $100 of assessed value.
While he was absent for last week’s public hearing, Board Chairman William Chavis said in the lead-up to last week’s decision that the rationale of lowering the county’s personal property tax rate for the first time in decades was about giving back to local taxpayers.
“We thought we would give back to the citizens some of their taxes,” he said. “You have a lot of people who haven’t had any tax breaks in a long time. A lot of people do not own real estate but they may own personal property, like cars and boats. So we thought we would give everybody to save on personal property.”
“Personal property affects everybody,” he continued, adding, “where real estate doesn’t. It has been decades since we changed it and we have been talking about it for seven years about how we can come down a bit on it. It was a hard thing to do and there was a lot of discussions, so we do have to find some money elsewhere but, we will just have to tighten our belts in order to try and help our citizens out.”
With that reduction, the budget has to be adjusted accordingly and, according to Dinwiddie County Administrator Kevin Massengill, the rate drop translates to a reduction in revenue to the tune of roughly $375,000. When asked, he said they expect to bridge that gap comfortably as other revenue projections are coming in stronger than expected, along with continued prudent management of county funds in terms of operations and spending.
According to county documents, Massengill is expected to present his balanced budget to the public on Tuesday, April 30, with any action on the budget coming the following week as, per state law, localities are prohibited from taking action on the budget the same night as the budget’s public hearing as they must wait a minimum of seven days before carrying out any action, like adoption, allowing the community more time to provide feedback.
The budget is tentatively scheduled to be adopted on May 7.