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JUNE 2, 2008
5:00 P.M.

Board Present: Fitzgerald A. Barnes, Dan W. Byers, Willie L. Gentry, Jr., Willie L. Harper, Richard A. Havasy, P.T. Spencer, Jr. and Jack T. Wright

Others Present: C. Lee Lintecum, County Administrator; Ernie McLeod, Deputy County Administrator; Sharon Pandak, Attorney; Alan Smith, Attorney, Nancy Pleasants, Commissioner of Revenue, Gloria Layne, Treasurer; Amanda Reidelbach, Office Manager, Administration and Zuwana Morgan, Deputy Clerk

Mr. Harper said this was continuance the last Board meeting.  Mr. Harper said the preliminaries would be done at the regular 6:00 p.m. Board meeting.  

Mr. Harper said this workshop was for  the consideration to the proposed changes to the vehicle license tax.

Mr. McLeod went over the memo to the Board from Mr. Lintecum.    

Mr. McLeod went over some of the questions from the memo that the Board would have to decide on.  Mr. McLeod stated question one was should the first year be prorated?

Mr. McLeod said there were two parts to the question, first, if prorated would it be on an annual basis.

Mr. McLeod said currently personal property is not prorated.  Mr. McLeod said the recommendation from the committee was not to prorate the vehicle license tax.  

Mr. McLeod said the second section spoke of prorating the implement of the tax in calendar year 2008.  Mr. McLeod said if the tax was prorated for calendar year 2008 citizens would only be charged the difference on the decal fee.

Mr. McLeod said the decal brought about $600,000 to the county, which was about one penny.

Mr. Havasy asked who was on the committee.  Mr. McLeod said the committee consisted of Ms. Pleasant, Ms. Layne and himself.

Mr. McLeod stated question two was on non-active vehicles currently pay personal property but did not pay decals.  Mr. McLeod said if the county goes to a license fee that would be tagged onto the personal property, the question would be how would that be handled.  Mr. McLeod said this question goes into where the vehicle was housed, was Louisa County a second home and the vehicle was kept here all year long.  Mr. McLeod stated if Louisa was a second home for the citizen, the county had been charging for personal property tax and county decals.

Mr. McLeod stated question three was exemption of certain vehicles. Volunteers currently receive a free decal. What about the vehicle tax?

Mr. McLeod went over the memo from the Treasurer and Commissioner

Mr. McLeod said in section 74-71 dealt with which vehicles would receive the exemption.

Mr. McLeod said the ordinance had eight options.  Mr. McLeod said the Commissioner and Treasurer recommended saying no to options one, two and eight and yes to three, four, five, six and seven.  Mr. McLeod said there was a question on number seven with the disable veteran and the surviving spouse.

Mr. Wright asked was the ordinance the recommendation or the law.  Mr. McLeod said it was the recommendation and the Board could include all options if they wanted.  

Mr. Barnes asked the Commissioner and the Treasurer how much revenue would option eight affect.  Mr. McLeod said the biggest issue was how the Commissioners system or employees would know who was suppose to receive the reduction.  

Mr. Byers said there are a lot of seniors that have money.  Mr. Byers asked if age was used as a criteria was it defensible.  Mr. Byers said how do you blanket a certain age.

Mr. Barnes said there was a formula in place that was used for personal property tax exemptions.  Mr. Barnes said if they used the same criteria from a financial standpoint they should get the reduction.

Mr. Havasy asked for comments from the Commissioner and Treasurer.

Ms. Pleasants said if they added the feature of everyone 65 years and older her staff would have to keep up with everyones age.  Ms. Pleasants said she would need one person just working on that.  Ms. Pleasants said if was tied to the citizens who received real estate exemptions that would be simpler.  

Mr. Wright asked the Commissioner would the burden fall on her because she was the only one that saw those records.  

Ms. Pleasants said she had two staff members who were certified master deputies and herself that worked tax relief.  

Mr. Barnes said if they could use the same criteria as used on the tax relief he would be interested in pursuing this.

Mr. Harper asked if there was any discussion on option one.

Ms. Pleasants said her reasoning for saying no to everyone 65 and over, was because she was did not know  how those individuals would be identified.

Mr. Barnes said he thought the request of option one would happen one day just not today.  

Mr. Harper asked was there any discussion on item two.

Mr. McLeod said other things to consider adding would be the National Guard, Medal of Honor recipients and former POWs.  

Mr. Barnes asked Ms. Pandak being ex-military would it be a conflict of interest if he spoke on that.  Mr. Pandak said no.

Ms. Pandak introduced Mr. Alan Smith her colleague who had been working with her on this.  Ms. Pandak said Mr. Smith advised her they would limitations not exemptions.  Ms. Pandak said if there are limitations already in the ordinance on who you could impose this license tax on and there wouldnt be any choice and it would be a matter of state law.    

Ms. Pandak asked Mr. Smith if that would include POWs.  Mr. Smith said yes.  

Mr. Smith said some localities do call them exemptions however they believe they are more in the natural of limitations.  Mr. Smith said the statue states the county cant charge more for the license fee than what the State charges for the annual fee and the State does not charge anything for former POWs, those awarded the Medal of Honor and they charge half the fee for those current members of National Guard.  

Mr. McLeod said he suggested the Board put together a new ordnance based on what Board decides.  

Mr. Byers said it  would be beneficial to have a one page document that showed who pays what tax, something straightforward and simple to look at.

Mr. McLeod said the ordinance states every motor vehicle, trailer and semitrailer that is normally garaged, stored, or parked within this county shall be subject to a license tax.  Mr. McLeod said the Treasurer and Commissioner suggested adding camping trailers.  

Mr. Harper said if they are licensed.  

Ms. Pleasants said she needed verifications on trailers.   Ms. Pleasants said they have never had to buy decals.

Ms. Layne said this was brought to the Board before and it was said only heavy trailers.  

Ms. Pleasants said the ordinance said “every”.

Mr. Byers said if the county was getting rid of decals, they should not add anything additional.

Ms. Pandak said the statue read was that if the vehicle was normally licensed that license tax would apply unless an exemption was met.    

Ms. Pleasants said the trailers are licensed.  Ms Pandak said the license tax would go on licensed vehicles according to the statue.  Ms. Pleasants said right or wrong they had not been in the past.

Mr. Spencer said vehicles under 3,200 lbs have never been required to have a state inspection or to have a county decal.  Mr. Spencer asked why would the county go to this now. Ms. Pandak said  there was one general board exemption in the statue that dealt with class that could be used.

Mr. Harper asked if you had a utility trailer and a boat trailer could get the exemption.   Mr. Pandak said there was not a limit on the number of vehicles that could receive exemptions.

Mr. Barnes said he would like the Board to keep it like it was.

Ms. Layne said now they charge at 10, 001 lbs

Mr. Harper asked Ms. Layne how did her office know who to send the bill to.  Ms. Layne said they pull the information from the Commissioners side.  

Mr. Harper said do they pull vehicles that are licensed or titled.  Ms. Pleasants said titled.  

Mr. Harper said a citizen could own a vehicle that wasnt on the road.  Ms. Pleasants and they would pay personal property tax in Louisa County.  Mr. Harper asked would they have to pay the license tax. Ms. Pleasants said that was the Boards decision.  

Mr. Smith said it was not an exemption as expressed in the code for non-active vehicles.

Ms. Pandak said the source authority would be the general exemption if the Board wanted to do that.

Mr. Gentry said the Board needed to be very careful not to add anything more then what was there.  Mr. Gentry said the public would feel like the taxes werent raised but county was getting them some where else.  

Mr. Harper said to Ms. Pandak the Board wanted to look for ways not to add anything that was not currently taxed.

Mr. Harper said the Board was clear option one, two and eight going forward and asked was a decision made on option seven.  

Mr. McLeod said the Treasurer and Commissioner asked should the surviving spouse get the exemption.

Ms. Layne said a friend of hers had to turn in her disable veterans license plate when her husband died, so she was no longer eligible.  Ms. Layne said that was what she was told and that was what she had been doing all along.

Mr. Harper asked was everyone in agreement.  

Mr. Byers said he wanted to make sure nothing was going to be included that was not included before.

Ms. Pandak said people who use the county for a home way from home, through the limitations they dont pay have to pay the license tax and it was a matter of state law.

Mr. Byers asked wouldnt those vehicles have to be licensed.  Ms. Pandak said they would have to be licensed where they reside but they would not have to pay the license tax here.

Ms. Pleasants asked was this something the citizen would have to ask to be waived.
Ms. Pandak  said it was a limitation but she didnt know how the Commissioners Office would know.

Mr. Wright asked if some worked in Richmond and lived in Louisa would they pay the license tax.  Ms. Pandak said yes.

Ms. Wright said this information needed to publicize to the public once a decision was made.

Ms. Pleasants asked with non-active vehicles would there be a date the plate became non-active.  Ms. Pleasants said if the car was owned January 1 it would be on her personal property roll to tax.   Ms. Pleasants said the vehicle plate could have died February 28and billing didnt start until September 1 was she to charge the license fee.

Mr. Harper asked the Commissioner why would was the information be pulled January if you arent billing until September.

Mr. Byers said that information would be out dated.  Ms. Pleasants said it would be correct for personal property.

Mr. Byers asked the Commissioner why wouldnt she go back and pull the information again.  Ms. Pleasants said that was what she was asking the Board, would she have to do that.

Mr. McLeod said the Board had said to put the license tax on the personal property bill.  Mr. McLeod said if that was going to done personal property tax was effective January 1

Ms. Pleasants said if the plate went dead in February then they would still be required to pay the fee.

Mr. McLeod said that was his interpretation but the Board could do what they wanted.  

Ms. Pandak said that person would pay through out the year, unless it was prorated.

Ms. Pleasants said the Board said they wanted it to be the same as decals.  Ms. Pleasants said if the plate goes dead in February the citizen would not buy a decal in March.  Ms. Pleasants said she wanted the ordinance to be as clear as it could be.

Mr. Byers said some the scenarios needed to be played out so that the Board would not have to go back on anything that was said.  Mr. Byers said he wasnt convinced that he knows enough on how this would be done.

Mr. Wright said he was disappointed it had taken this long to get to this point, license tax had been discussed for about three years.

Mr. Harper asked the Commissioner what other counties had experienced.  Ms. Pleasants said the counties she had spoken with said the year the vehicle tax was adopted they did not sell decals.  

Ms. Pleasants said the citizens were not going to be real happy about this even if its just a $5 fee.

Mr. Wright said they had discussed moving the date of the decal to January 1
st to match the personal property tax.  Mr. Wright said and the first year it would be prorated from April 15th to December 31st. Mr. Wright said he didnt think working with two different dates would help anyone understand.

Mr. Gentry  said he thought that was what needed to be done so nothing would be added.

Ms. Pandak said there was a proration in 74-74.

Mr. McLeod said (a) in 74-74 was to prorate the vehicle license from now on and (b) was to prorate for calendar year 2008 and was the recommendation of the committee.  

Mr. Wright said to prorate just the first year so no one would be over charged.

Mr. Byers said when this was discussed again there needed to be simplified chart.  Mr. Byers said the Board members had different views and different feelings and how did they expect the public to respond.

Mr. McLeod said once the ordinance was cleaned up it would be easier to understand.

Ms. Layne said to remember the decals the citizens have now expire on April 19, 2009.

Ms. Pleasants said she hoped the Board knew it was adding work to her staff.  

Mr. Byers said staff was freed up from doing decals.  Ms. Pleasants said her staff did not do decals.  

* Mr. Barnes left the meeting at 5:37


On motion of Mr. Havasy, seconded by Mr. Gentry, which carried by a vote of 6-0, the Board voted to adjourn the June 2, 2008 vehicle tax workshop meeting at 5:39 p.m.