Rockingham County Taxes

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

Not only could Rockingham County residents notice their property, water and sewer taxes going up, but the next they grab a bite to eat, they may have to pay a bit more.

A new tax could be biting at residents' wallets. With the construction of a new school in the county, a tax increase in property and water and sewer taxes may not be enough. That's why the county is looking to impose its first meal tax.

The proposed tax would add four percent to the cost of meals to help offset the debt of the school construction.

"The additional schools that are under construction now, Riverbend and East Rockingham High School, the additional cost to operate those schools and they're looking down the road and seeing that there's going to be significant educational costs that are going to need to be met," says Joe Paxton, the county administrator.

Meeting those costs relies on additional revenue from businesses that some owners don't agree with.

"There's other ways to increase revenue around here. Four percent is a little drastic in my opinion," says Dave Gordon, the manager of Thunderbird Diner.

With some restaurants already taking in lower profits because of a failing economy, some feel the tax could affect their business.

"I know that there's a lot of business that already are struggling to be running and with that meal tax it would be even worse for the business operator," says Rosario Alfieri, the owner of Romano's Italian Bistro.

This tax may cause people to think twice before they go out to eat.

"It definitely will affect maybe how often we go out to eat we know it's going to be more expensive," says Sydney Wright, a county resident.

However, some say they'll still go out to eat, they're just going to complain a little.

The city of Harrisonburg currently has a six-percent meal tax, and most towns within the county already have a meal tax as well.

Cities can create their own ordinances, but the county works differently. The Board of Supervisors has to ask the circuit court to create a referendum that will show up on the ballot in November. There will also be a public hearing for the budget, which includes these tax increases next Wednesday evening at Turner Ashby High School.


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