COVID-19 to impact Smithfield tax revenues

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

By Diana McFarland


The Town of Smithfield is beginning to factor in the economic impact of the novel coronavirus on its upcoming fiscal 2021 operating budget. 

The main areas being hit are meals and transient occupancy taxes, business licenses and revenues from town properties, such as the Isle of Wight County Museum and The Smithfield Center, according to a report prepared recently for the Town Council by interim Town Manager Sanford “Sandy” Wanner. 

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Town Treasurer Ellen Minga has put forth a preliminary loss estimate of about $300,000, or 40 percent of normal revenues for the first quarter. 

Minga said she compared the past two to three years of revenues for the related businesses in town and then took about 40 percent off. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Minga said the 40 percent was just a starting point, and will likely be more as businesses hit a brick wall due to COVID-19. 

The meals tax was originally estimated to bring in $1.9 million for fiscal 2021, but with the ongoing health crisis, Minga put that figure at $1.6 million. 

Revenues from the town’s meals tax is the strongest sector other than real estate, according to a report presented to the Town Council during its recent budget retreat. 

Real estate is expected to generate $2.1 million for fiscal 2021. 

Wanner said the town does have a strong cash reserve, about $7 million, putting it in good shape as compared to similar localities. 

However, Wanner is advising the Town Council to reduce any unnecessary spending in the current budget. 

Meanwhile, the Town Council is also gearing up to work on the fiscal 2021 budget this month, but with COVID-19, Wanner said those plans are fluctuating day-by-day.  {/mprestriction}