Luray OKs Tax, Rate Hikes

Real Estate Levy Will Increase From 24 To 28 Cents On July 1

Posted: April 27, 2013

LURAY - Luray Town Council has approved proposed rate and fee changes for next fiscal year.
On Tuesday, council gave its OK to a real estate tax increase of 4 cents per $100 of assessed value on a home, from the current rate of 24 cents to 28 cents  with the start of fiscal 2014 on July 1.
At 28 cents per $100 of assessed value, the owner of a $200,000 home — who pays about $480 per year now — will pay an additional $80 in taxes per year.
The real estate tax increase should generate roughly $176,000 for the town, according to town documents. One major project the extra funding will go toward is the rehabilitation of the Main Street bridge, which was built in the 1930s, according to Assistant Town Manager Bryan Chrisman.
Although Luray has secured a $1.6 million federal grant for the project, the town is required to cover 20 percent of the total project cost.
“We’re roughly on the hook for about $324,000 that we’re going to have to pay out of the town coffers,” Chrisman said.
Council also approved water and sewer rate hikes.
For in-town residents, the minimum fee on water usage up to 1,000 gallons is slated to rise by $3.78, with smaller rate increases per thousand gallons for those using more than that minimum amount.
Out-of-town residents who use the town’s services have separate rates.
While in-town residents will not see an increase in the minimum rate on sewage services, they will experience a hike in rates per thousand gallons of use after that minimum amount.
The average in-town residential user will have to pay about $9.60 more per billing cycle — which is about a month — under the new water and sewer rates. The average commercial business in town would see a $26.35 increase, while the average industrial business in town would experience a $70.60 jump.
The average in-town residential user pays about $80 per month on water and sewer services, according to Chrisman.
Those fees are increasing mainly because of required upgrades to the town’s water filtration and wastewater treatment plants.
Due to Chesapeake Bay regulations, Luray had to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorus levels coming from the wastewater treatment plant two years ago, according to Charles Hoke, temporary town manager who served as Luray’s director of utilities prior to the appointment.
While the town secured a state grant for 75 percent of the $7.5 million project, it was still costly, he said. The town was unable to secure any grants for the $5 million water filtration system, which is also two years old, Hoke said.
The town will hold a public hearing on the entire $7.9 million budget — a cut from the current roughly $8.3 million budget — May 13, followed by a vote on the spending plan May 28.  The budget, once approved, also takes effect July 1.
Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or

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