Accomack To Refund $91,000 to Four Companies That Overpaid Taxe


By Linda Cicoira — Accomack supervisors voted Wednesday to refund nearly $91,000 in overpaid taxes due to erroneous assessments made on local property.

Commissioner of the Revenue Debbie Midgett certified that refunds are due to four companies. The supervisors followed the recommendation of county staff and directed Treasurer Dana Bundick to issue the payments, which include interest.

Del Monte Fresh Production Inc. will get back $6,098.16; William D. and Therese B. Lovell Poultry Farm is owed $7,889.92; Chesapeake Bay E.N.T. will be paid $28,975.84, and Sharp Energy Inc. will receive $47,748.15.

County Administrator Mike Mason said the funds would “come out of revenue coming in this year. It’s all in a net,” he added.

Tourism and Commerce

A savings of more than $21,000 annually will be realized with the merging of tourism and commerce, reported Robie Marsh, director of both the Eastern Shore Tourism Commission and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce. The tourism office in Onancock was closed and is now operating from chamber headquarters in Melfa. Marsh has been managing the two entities for nearly two months.

The ten goals of the merger were also outlined by Marsh and include restructure staff roles to maximize efficiency; fill empty positions; launch new website that supplies a state tourism calendar; create, print, and distribute the new travel guide in about three weeks; eliminate a $65,946 deficit by June 30; make a strategic marketing plan that would include the 50-year anniversary of Virginia is for Lovers; coordinate an 18-month audit; maintain the success of the southern welcome center; and reestablish a welcome center at the chamber office.

News About Roads 

Local VDOT Director Chris Isdell briefed the supervisors on road work including the bridge washout at Hillsborough near Belle Haven.

Branscome Eastern Shore is in charge of the project, which has a June 15 completion date, Isdell said. The company is “out there working … setting pipe … building it up to what the upgrade needs to be … progressing quite nicely,” he added.

Isdell also reported the traffic light for Route 13 and the Accomack Industrial Park, in Melfa, is set to be completed by the summer of 2020. The project is in the right of way stage. Turn lane upgrades will be made and the crossover in front of the Eastern Shore Community College will eventually be closed.

Improvements are also planned for T’s Corner with construction to begin in May 2020. A traffic signal will be installed at Saxis Road and Route 13 with minor improvements being made to pavements and Church Street traffic being diverted to Route 695. Cemetery Road in Belle Haven will have a $3.9 million overhaul beginning in late 2022.

Supervisor Ron Wolff thanked Isdell for a recently completed project that removed between 70 and 80 tires from Thornton Road.

Money for School Division

The formula the county usually follows to increase the local contribution for schools produces an increase of $286,000. Finance Director Beth Onley said the division’s budget shortfall is about $100,000 more. Depending on what the General Assembly does, she noted, that amount could increase by almost $300,000. The school budget includes a 3 percent increase for all salaries. The operating budget proposal is nearly $52.5 million.

County Budget Set for Public Hearing Without Tax Increase

The supervisors unanimously agreed to advertise a public hearing for the proposed 2019-2020 fiscal budget of $58.2 million for Monday, March 11. The proposal is balanced without increases in personal property or real estate rates. 

Whispering Pines

Deputy County Administrator Rich Morrison said bids will be accepted and brought to the supervisors at their next session regarding an extensive clean up at the Whispering Pines property in Tasley. The plan is to remove buildings down to asphalt and fill the pool. 

“Bid specs are pretty extensive,” said Morrison. “We’ll do what we can to make the property safe … Once it is safe we can talk about the aesthetics concern … that is a poster child for a dangerous building.” Morrison said the schedule for work to be completed is June 20.

The supervisors also:

Passed a resolution commending the late Jeffrey L. Pitts, of Wachapreague, a local volunteer firefighter, firefighter of the years, fire chief, town council member, and county fire and rescue commissioner, who died on Dec. 5, 2018.

Reported that the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia chose to honor Accomack County for its closure of the landfill.

Reported that Accomack County and its finance department received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association. The county has been the recipient for many prior years. The award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.

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