Bridgeville hiking taxes and fees

By Mike McClure

In an effort to make up a potential $600,000 budget shortfall, the Bridgeville Commission approved an ordinance raising the town's property tax rate during Monday's meeting. The Commission also held the first reading for five proposed ordinances including three dealing with the increase in town fees.
The Commission voted, 5-0, in favor of an ordinance increasing the town's property tax rate from $1.73 per $100 of property assessment to $2 per $100. The vote came following the second reading of the ordinance and a public hearing. When asked why the town was proposing a property tax increase, Commission President Bill Jefferson said it had to make up a budget shortfall of $600,000.
"We're not going to drain all of our funds so that we can operate our town properly," Jefferson added.
According to Town Manager Bonnie Walls, the shortfall came about due to the reduction of transfer tax income due to lack of growth and construction; paying back debt; and the increase in the cost of electric and other services. She added that the town is looking to balance the budget and move forward.
The Commission also introduced five ordinances for first reading. One ordinance deals with fees for variance, zoning, and conditional use hearings. The $500 fee covers town staff and supplies but not advertising, legal fees, engineering fees, and other costs.

Another proposed ordinance sets building permit fees at one percent of the construction cost. A third ordinance calls for water and sewer fee increases.
Also up for consideration is an ordinance requiring registration and licensing of all residential rental units in town and an ordinance requiring the registration and licensing of businesses in town. The second readings and public hearings for these ordinances will take place at the next Commission meeting, which has been chanced from July 12 to July 19 (7 p.m. at town hall).
Earlier in the meeting Commissioner Mike Collison recognized members of the Phillis Wheatley Middle School conservation club. The club replanted flower barrels along Market Street and plan to paint on watering cans to distribute to members of the community who are watering the flowers.
The conservation club has received an Adopt a Wetland award from state, the Governor's Conservation Award, and a Superstars in Education award. Phillis Wheatley Middle School was one of seven schools in the state to receive the Superstars in Education Award, which includes a $2,500 prize. The club plans to use the money to build a reading garden outside the school. Jay Mervine was sworn in as a member of the Bridgeville Commission, replacing Commissioner Earl Greason who moved out of the area. Mervine will serve the rest of the term which is up for election next March.

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