By Stefanie Jackson – Northampton citizens won’t see any local tax hikes in fiscal year 2022, Finance Director John Chandler announced during the supervisors meeting Tuesday night.
Additionally, one of the county’s tax rates will likely be decreased, following the recommendation of Supervisor Betsy Mapp during the public hearing on the proposed rates.
She was displeased that Northampton’s boat tax is $0.99 per $100 of assessed value, but farm machinery is taxed at $1.20 per $100 of assessed value, which she said “really galls me.”
“It just doesn’t seem fair to have work equipment costing more in taxes than pleasure boats,” Mapp said.
Chairman Dixon Leatherbury appeared to agree, noting that less than 50% of Virginia counties tax farm machinery, and Northampton’s farm machinery tax rate is one of the highest in the country.
Mapp suggested switching around the tax rates or making them equal.
County Administrator Charlie Kolakowski reminded supervisors that they could propose reducing tax rates that evening, but increasing tax rates would require scheduling and advertising a separate public hearing.
Supervisor John Coker asked how much tax revenue the county would lose if the farm machinery tax rate was reduced from $1.20 per $100 of assessed value to $0.99 per $100 of assessed value.
Chandler said approximately $88,000 in revenue was expected in FY 2022 from the farm machinery tax rate of $1.20 per $100 of assessed value. Coker calculated that reducing the tax rate to $0.99 per $100 would generate a revenue loss of about $16,000.
Coker asked how the revenue loss would be covered. Chandler said the money could be taken from Northampton’s contingency fund, but he likely could find an alternative solution before supervisors’ next meeting in two weeks.
Mapp was eager to make a motion to lower the farm machinery tax rate, but supervisors must wait at least seven days after the public hearing to take any action, meaning the motion can be made during supervisors’ June 8 meeting.