Real estate transfer taxes again emerged as an issue on Tuesday,Feb. 7 at Ocean View’s Long Range Financial Planning Committee meeting.
Last week, town officials took about $600,000 out of the forecasted revenue budgets of 2010 and 2011 and looked for ways to generate revenue to close the gap on rising deficits in the town.
“Unless we come up with another revenue source other than the real estate market, I don’t see how we would avoid raising taxes,” said Eric Magill, an Ocean View Councilman and the committee’s chair.
The committee decided on Tuesday to recommend that the town’s council look into implementing a 2- or 3-percent rental tax and an annexation fee for already-developed neighborhoods that are annexed into the town.
According to Kathy Roth, Ocean View’s town manager, a 2-percent rental tax on the present rental market in the town would generate revenues of $34,000. A 3-percent tax, which will likely be recommended by the finance committee, would generate $51,000.
Although it will be the land owners paying the tax, the tax would likely show up in rental costs in Ocean View, Magill said.
”It’s fair,” said Roy Thomas, another member of the finance committee. “These are people that don’t pay tax (in Ocean View). (But) they come in and enjoy our public works and public safety.”
The annexation fee would be ideal for the town, Magill said, because it only receives minimal, if any, transfer tax revenues from an already-developed neighborhood, as opposed to one that isn’t developed before it is annexed.
Rental taxes would be ideal for another reason. The market for rentals, unlike sales in the town, is relatively stable, he said.
“It’s something we can do to raise some revenue,” Magill added. “And, hopefully, it won’t fluctuate too much.”
Magill said that the committee will present its plan to town council at its March meeting but it would take at least three months for an ordinance to go through the system. Council would then hear the plan and hold two public hearings on the matter before possibly voting the rental tax and annexation fees into law.
Council hears first water facility reading
At its Tuesday meeting, Ocean View’s town council heard the first reading that would move forward a proposal for a water treatment facility on a15-acre parcel in the Village of Bear Trap Dunes.
James Vasselli, a resident in the neighborhood who lives close to the proposed location, spoke on behalf of residents that live within yards of where the treatment facility might be constructed.
Although the Bear Trap homeowners association agreed to the plans, residents that live nearby are opposed to its location, he said.
“We’re not opposed to water treatment facilities,” Vasselli said at the meeting. “We’re just opposed to its location.”
Vasselli said that nearby residents are concerned about the maintenance traffic the water facility would bring close to their homes. In 2000, when the facility was first considered, no residential properties would have been affected, he said.
“Then it was just woods and trees,” Vasselli added. “There were no homes.”
But now, it’s a different situation, he said.
“When we purchased our homes, we weren’t told that there would be a facility. That makes it a little more distasteful.”
Council will vote on the second reading to approve or disapprove the construction of the facility at is March meeting.