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Legislative Priorities Set

CUMBERLAND – The County's Supervisors updated its legislative priorities for the 2012 year. The priorities are forwarded to the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) each year and to the County's representatives in the General Assembly.

New topics discussed by the Cumberland Board of Supervisors include changing the interpretation of sales tax as it relates to fuel so that volunteer emergency services departments would be treated the same as those that are paid organizations.

“So we can get that break on sales tax and so we can use off-road fuel,” explained Supervisor Bill Osl, District One, on what that change in legislation would do for rural localities with volunteer departments. “It's obviously cheaper than on-road fuel.

“I think we should add an item that would support our request to be able to use off-road fuel and not have to pay the sales tax on our emergency service organizations,” added Osl.

Osl added that he would request assistance from County Attorney Howard Estes so that this request can be forwarded to Cumberland's representatives.

“I just don't want to be treated differently because we are a rural community,” he continued. “If anybody should benefit from it, we should.”

Cumberland's Supervisors also noted that the request for adequate funding for all state mandated positions and all other state mandates will stay on the 2012 priority list.

“It's more or less talking about the Sheriff and other positions but I think it should be more wording in there for these other mandates as far as I'm concerned…that don't have funds. Period,” explained Supervisor Elbert Womack, District Four. “It should be unfunded mandates, whatever they may be.”

The Board adopted the priorities for the upcoming 2012 year with the changes.

The other priorities that were left on the list from the previous year include such topics as taxes and requesting a JLARC, joint legislative audit and review commission, study to understand and analyze the value and lost revenue of property owned by a political subdivision that is tax exempt in another political subdivision; requiring VDOT to implement a plan to establish maintenance priorities with the local governing body; and requiring the General Assembly to provide that court-ordered children be classified as “mandated” for the purposes of receiving state reimbursements.

Another priority is “situs for taxation” or the location where charges may be levied upon personal property by a government.

Cumberland requests an amendment to Section 58.1-3511A of the Code of Virginia “requiring that situs for assessment and taxation or personal property, merchants capital and machinery and tools, (would not include motor vehicles, travel trailers, boats, and airplanes which are already assessed based on where they are 'normally garaged, docked, or packed') be in the county, district, town, or city in which the property is 'normally used, located or help out for sale' instead of where the property 'may be physically located on tax day.'”

One other priority is school construction and debt service.

Cumberland requests that the state should provide recurring money for school facility debt on a per pupil basis in addition to the SOQ funding to establish a permanent revenue source and formula for distributing school construction and debt service funding to localities.