Meals tax protested

Two items will be on the ballot on November 5. The Chesterfield Board of Supervisors (BOS), during their April 17 meeting, asked County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier to bring forward a resolution for a referendum, which would include $266 million to provide for school building improvements and a new school. The second item is a tax of up to 4 percent, which would be added to meals purchased by the public in restaurants.

The referendum on the ballot items would be voted on separately with Chesterfield County schools and public safety being the recipients. Details of the distribution of the meals tax is still unknown, that means the BOS has yet to determine the percentage that schools and public safety will each receive.

The BOS has also yet to determine the percentage of the meals tax it would imposed on restaurant customers. If a meals tax is passed by voters at a 4 percent rate, the revenue to the county would be as much as $16 million per year.

“My fear is that most people will not have enough information and this will be marketed for the children and public safety, who in their right mind would vote no to that?” said Ralph Carter, who lives in the Bermuda District, during the public comment period of the meeting agenda. “Since this can of worms has been opened, I’m holding each and every one of you responsible to disseminate the information that is necessary for the public to vote intelligently.”

Before the evening session of last week’s Board meeting, a dozen protesters lined the hall leading to the public meeting room holding signs and at least one banging a pot. Historically, a banging of a pot is used to gain attention.

The BOS will have to have details in place in time for the Circuit Court to approve the two referendums by August 16.


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