New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | November 28, 2020

Charles City County staff to research B-POL tax; restrictions on thru-trucks returns to drawing board

By Andre Jones | October 27, 2020 11:15 pm

Charles City’s Board of Supervisors is receiving information that may lead to the implementation of a Business-Professional Operation License (B-POL) tax for fiscal year 2022-23.

Local leaders received an update on the process from County Administrator Michelle Johnson during Tuesday night’s regular board meeting.

Over the past year and a half, District 2 Supervisor and Board Chairman Bill Coada has lobbied for information for the possible institution of the B-POL tax. Citing a desire to garner revenue for the county, Johnson directed staff to gather information regarding the subject matter.

At the board meeting, Johnson provided information gathered from research and a recommendation from Charles City Commissioner of Revenue Denise Smith. The proposal calls for 15 cents of every $100 earned by the business to be taxed. The 15 cents would be a flat B-POL tax if instituted in FY2022-23.

In packets provided to county leaders, the B-POL tax has yielded mix results for neighboring jurisdictions. While Prince George County garnered $35 million last year, Surry County only made $395,000 from the tax. Neighboring New Kent brought in approximately $1 million according to Johnson.
Coada spoke up about his desire for the tax but emphasized that he may have a change of course if it did not have a positive financial impact on the county.

“This tax would replace the merchant capital tax because under the law, we can’t have both,” he said, pointing to a tax that brought in $29,000 last year. “If we switch to a B-POL tax, I want to make sure that we make more than $30,000 after the cost to offset the hiring of an additional employee for the Commissioner of Revenue’s office.

“If it’s not favorable, I may have to change my position on it,” Coada concluded.

Currently, a business permit fee of $30 is implemented by the county after it was approved in November 2014. That business permit allows company based in Charles City to work in outside jurisdictions.

With doubts on the effects of implementing the B-POL tax, county leaders instructed Johnson to return with more information that include the cost of hiring an additional employee and other factors that would factor into how much the county would benefit from implementation of the tax.

In another matter of business, a no thru-truck restriction that was imposed on Old Union Road and then rescinded to add a second road has been tabled for further discussion.

In October 2019, county leaders approved a no thru-truck restriction on the heavily traveled thoroughfare used by trucks. This past January, a similar restriction was placed on Charles City Road to prevent that route from being used as well.

But hiccups came after a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) representative notified Johnson that because a portion of Charles City Road runs through Henrico County that a joint resolution will be needed from both counties to make the restriction legal. However, the result of nine months of communication and research with Henrico resulted in the neighboring jurisdiction to the west not agreeing to enter into the resolution. According to Johnson, Henrico County cited that roughly two to three percent that use that road is truck traffic and tractor-trailer traffic. Henrico County required that at least 10 percent of that traffic would have to be categorized as heavy truck traffic before the would consider entering into the no thru-truck resolution.

With that news, county leaders are now determining if they should reimpose a restriction on strictly Old Union Road or allow it to continue to be used for traffic.

“It’s not the answer I wanted to hear from Henrico and it’s not a place I want to be in as this is a lose-lose situation,” commented District 1 Supervisor Gilbert Smith, who is in charge of the district where both roads pass through.

“We are going to make every attempt to rectify the situation,” Johnson chimed in. “We’re essentially back to square one.”

Finally, Charles City County is the recipient of a $500,000 grant to establish a permanent food pantry in the county.

Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the Block Grant on Oct. 15 to help provide a permanent structure. The grant was awarded as the county was determined to be a place of need due to a variety of factors that include lack of nearby grocery stores and assistance needed to provide citizens a place to obtain food for their household.

Charles City supervisors approved of the grant by accepting an amendment to their current year’s budget. No place of determination for the structure’s location has been named as negotiations remain ongoing.