Town advertises tax increases

Published 12:38 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2017

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The town of Smithfield is proposing increasing its vehicle license tax and adding a curbside trash collection fee to pay off nearly $300,000 in debt service for major projects undertaken last year.

The town has proposed that the vehicle license tax rise from $20 to $27 per vehicle, and that the new trash pickup fee be in the amount of $10 per month, according to a legal notice submitted to The Smithfield Times by the town. The projects for which the debt service payments are due include restoration work at Windsor Castle and the Joseph Luter Jr. sports complex. 

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The town will hold a public hearing for its proposed budget June 6 at 7:30 p.m. at The Smithfield Center. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Smithfield Town Council members were scheduled to discuss the proposed tax increases at Monday’s Finance Committee meeting, but the meeting was postponed until Tuesday, as Council members Andrew Gregory, Randy Pack and Mike Smith were absent.

Council member Dr. Milton Cook was the only finance committee member present.

Real estate taxes, which had been discussed at previous meetings as a possible line item to increase, are proposed to remain the same at $0.16 per $100 of assessed value.

Town Manager Peter Stephenson said that the budget is still a work in progress. The town doesn’t have to adopt a budget until the end of June.

“It’s a very fluid process,” said Stephenson.

Construction for the sports complex began early this year and is a $4 million endeavor, funded with contributions from Smithfield Foods, Joseph Luter III, Isle of Wight County and Farmers Bank. The town purchased the land for $775,000. The town does not yet know what kind of revenue the facility will provide, or how much it will cost to maintain.

The restoration at Windsor Castle, historic buildings once owned by Smithfield founder Arthur Smith IV, was also initiated early this year. It is funded so far by a $1 million donation by Smithfield Foods and $2 million pledged by the town.  {/mprestriction}