Chesterfield County leaders had been poised to ask voters to decide on whether or not to levy a 4 percent meals tax on November 5. But before a tax issue could be approved by the Circuit Court, the Board of Supervisor (BOS) lowered their proposed tax to 2 percent.
During the regular meeting last week of the BOS, the elected body voted unanimously to reduce their request to the lower rate. The item was a last minute add-on to Wednesday’s agenda.
A local Patriots group had assembled outside the meeting waving their “Don’t tread on me” flags and pitchforks while banging on cooking pots with spoons. The group wasn’t aware that the meals tax had been lowered. But according to Ralph Carter, the results didn’t matter, a tax is a tax, he said.
The Virginia General Assembly, during its last session, ruled that localities could levy a meals tax. A number of jurisdictions took the opportunity to make the meals tax part of a referendum in the fall.
The meals tax would be used for capital improvements for the Chesterfield County School System (CCPS) and public safety. Schools already have a referendum for over $304 million for improvements to schools and to build one new school. The location of the school has yet to be determined.
The public safety portion of the meals tax revenue would also be for capital improvements. A new radio system is needed and renovations to some facilities are needed.
According to Chesterfield County Registrar Lawrence Haake, the schools referendum and the meals tax referendum will be separate items on the ballot.