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Town Mulls Tax Relief

FARMVILLE – Town officials have discussed asking the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors to consider moving to twice-a-year real estate tax billing.

Splitting the annual payment in half, with two billings six months apart.

The possibility was raised by Vice-Mayor Armstead D. Reid and discussed during Town Council's September meeting, attended by Supervisor Jim Wilck.

“But you do desire to do it, is that what you're saying?” Wilck asked Town Council members.

“Well, we've had people ask about it, rather than getting hit all at one time,” Farmville Town Manager Gerald Spates replied.

Splitting the tax bill in half, the town manager said, would “make it a whole lot easier because the time of the year it comes is usually right around Christmas and then our people get hit with Town taxes right after that.”

“It's rough,” said Reid.

“If we could split it up,” Spates continued, “I think it might make the burden a little easier on people.”

Wilck replied that he would “be happy to bring it up.”

Asked by Spates if a letter from the Town would help, Wilck replied in the affirmative.

The Town has yet to write and mail the letter to Prince Edward County, though the topic was mentioned during Town Council's October work session on Wednesday.

Numerous counties have moved to twice-a-year real estate tax collection because it does ease the burden on residents, while also spreading out the revenue stream for those localities.

Elderly Disabled Tax Relief

The Town of Farmville, meanwhile, is also looking to provide its own tax relief for qualified elderly and disabled residents, something that Prince Edward County already has in place for its residents.

Council member Donald L. Hunter brought the issue up for discussion by Town Council.

“Mr. Hunter asked us to look at providing some kind of relief to the elderly and disabled,” Spates told council members last month, “and I got you a copy of what Prince Edward County does. I would think it would probably be a good idea to mirror Prince Edward County, that way we could use the information they get on it (regarding) people qualifying as being disabled or elderly.”

Twelve county residents qualify for Prince Edward's tax relief policy and five of those are town residents and would also qualify for relief from the Town's tax.

If Prince Edward “declares somebody as eligible (for theirs) we should declare them eligible for tax relief also,” Spates said.

The Town would also come up with implementation plans for town residents living in Cumberland, which does not have tax relief for elderly and disabled residents, Spates noted.

“So the Town would have to administer the Cumberland part of Farmville itself for this relief,” he told council members.

Town Council's Finance and Ordinance Committee-comprised of Vice-Mayor Reid, David E. Whitus, and Dr. Edward I. Gordon-is reviewing the issue and will report its recommendation to council.

“I'm assuming you want to pursue that,” Spates said to council members.