by Audrey Thomasson
IRVINGTON—The town of Irvington has struggled with declining revenue in recent years due to the recession and a resulting loss in its main revenue—the occupancy tax—primarily from the Tides Inn.
However, with a new town real estate tax collected for the first time in December 2016, council members Jerry Latell and Fran Westbrook reported to council last week that a revenue jump from $121,062 last year to $198,000 in 2017 is anticipated.
According to town administrator Bob Hardesty, the Tides Inn used to contribute $80,000 to $90,000 in occupancy tax revenue prior to the recession.
Council maintained it was not fiscally responsible to rely solely on one revenue source to run the town, noting a lack of funds for repairs and upkeep on infrastructure.
Last year, a hand full of citizens was very vocal in their opposition to the real estate tax, claiming they didn’t believe it was necessary, especially without a solid plan in place for how the money would be spent.
While the contribution of a real estate tax may make the budget seem robust, the current budget is in line with a decade ago, when the 2007 budget was $178,000.
“We’ve found more rental property,” Westbrook said, referring to vacation home rentals. Those rentals are also subject to the 2% occupancy tax, she noted.
Latell reported an end-of-year financial report is nearing completion and will be distributed to council.
In other business, Hardesty said Carter White of the Virginia Department of Transportation has completed his study of old VDOT records on sidewalk ownership and will report at next month’s meeting of council.
White’s study is a result of the town asking VDOT to repair and replace damaged sidewalks. However, the highway department says it is only responsible for the ones it owns.
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