Yesterday the new Pittsyvlania County Board of Supervisors held its first meeting and passed a resolution to put a 1% sales tax resolution for school funding on the 2022 ballot and for a one time hazard pay bonus for fire and rescue volunteers for hazard pay.
A press release by the county explains, “After a referendum for a 1% sales tax increase to fund school capital costs failed by just 14 votes in November of 2021, the Board of Supervisors, at the request of Pittsylvania County Schools, voted unanimously to approve a resolution to place that same question on the ballot in November 2022.”
“This Board of Supervisors has a steadfast belief and appreciation for Pittsylvania County Schools, and we are hopeful that with better marketing this 1% sales tax increase will be passed in November,” said Vic Ingram, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors. “We believe that this equitable tax, which failed by such a small margin in 2021, will ultimately benefit our school system without placing any additional burden on County property owners.”
“The resolution that the Board of Supervisors approved instructed County leaders to file a petition with the Circuit Court to have this item included on the ballot in November’s general election. If approved, the projected $3.3 million in annual revenue would be used exclusively for capital projects for the construction or renovation of county schools. Pittsylvania County Schools have significant capital needs in the coming years. Pittsylvania County constructed new middle schools in 2001 and renovated the four high schools in 2007. There are significant maintenance needs at the now 20-year-old middle schools and each of the county’s 10 elementary schools, which are 21 years old at the newest. Many are significantly older than that, and thus have serious maintenance needs. Much of the primary upcoming costs are related to HVAC and roof repairs and replacements.”
“The question on the November ballot will read as follows: “Should Pittsylvania County be authorized to levy a general retail sales tax at a rate not to exceed one percent (1%), provided the revenue from the sales tax shall be used solely for capital projects for the construction or renovation of schools in Pittsylvania County and that the sales tax shall expire by September 30, 2042?”
The primary change between the question on the ballot on November, 2021 and what will be on the ballot this November is the duration of the sales tax. The time period has been reduced from 30 years to 20 years.
Increasing Pittsylvania County’s sales tax by 1% would bring the total sales tax to 6.3%, which is less than the 6.75 -7.5% charged in North Carolina and in par with what is charged in the City of Danville.
State Code allows Pittsylvania County to finance the construction or renovation projects by bonds or loans, all of which must be repaid by 2051. In other words, the expected revenue from the additional 1% sales tax will cover the debt payments needed for the renovation and construction.
Pittsylvania County Schools have sought a variety of other funding mechanisms to cover some of these needed capital projects, Pittsylvania County Schools Superintendent Mark Jones said during a presentation on Tuesday night. For instance, $5.6 million is coming from a solar power project, over $1 million will come from a performance contract, and $12 million in CARES Act funds.’
The hazard bonus for the volunteers is for ones who ran a total of 50 calls or 10% of the total agency call volume for calendar year 2021, whichever is less and is being funded from left over ARPA money. The board also voted to drop a two unit random annual audit that has been carried out at county expense and to hold a public hearing on changing how the county Fire and Rescue commission is composed. More on these items later. You can read the full county press release here.
Also the county posted the business meeting video on their Facebook page.