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Augusta County to hold public hearing on proposed cigarette tax Wednesday night

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The Augusta County Board of Supervisors is holding a public hearing Wednesday at 7 p.m., regarding a new ordinance that would impose a 30 cent cigarette tax per pack.

“Currently, there is no tax in Augusta County. The General Assembly, in 2020, had passed legislation that allows for counties to tax cigarettes, meals and lodging similar to cities,” Deputy County Administrator Jennifer Whetzel said.

The county did change its meals and lodging tax from 4% to 6%, which went into effect July 1, 2021.

The proposed cigarette tax is consistent with the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. Waynesboro Mayor Bobby Henderson says the cigarette tax was approved before he was on council, but he hasn’t heard any complaints since.

“I’ve been on council for three years now, and it’s been going since I came on. There’s no complaints to me or it doesn’t seem to impact the sale of cigarettes in our city,” Henderson explained.

Augusta County could either implement the tax themselves or join a regional cigarette tax board that would administer the tax.

“They would be involved in collecting the taxes, according to our ordinance, and then they would also have staffing, manage the purchase of the stamps and the accounting piece of it for the county and then that would be split with other localities that participate also,” Whetzel said.

The money would go into the county’s general fund and be used offset general operating expenditures.

The board plans to listen to public comments Wednesday night and would move forward with a vote at its next meeting in September. If passed, the new ordinance would go into effect January 1, 2022.

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