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Bristol Virginians may pay more in taxes in the upcoming year

By Callan Gray, cgray@wcyb.com
Published On: May 18 2014 08:46:51 PM CDT
Updated On: May 18 2014 09:16:36 PM CDT
bristol, va tax hike
BRISTOL, Va. -

Bristol Virginians may face a property tax increase in the next year. City Council members discussed the possibility in a budget work session on Friday.

Bristol Virginia leaders are working to finalize the city's budget and on the table are a series of tax increases.

"After we looked at the budget twice," said Councilman Jim Steele. "The capital needs of this city are so important to us. We have fire departments that need help, we have police departments that need help."

It's the reason why he's proposed a four cent property tax hike.

"I see no other way to try and get the money to take care of these capital needs," Steele said.

We're told the city has already talked about staff reductions, increasing the cigarette tax, and creating an admission tax at theaters, all of which would add up to $600,000.
Mayor Guy Odum said the property tax would mean another $400,000 over the next year, giving the city a million dollars to work with.

"We have a balanced budget without doing this but what we're looking at is to get a capital fund that will pay for those infrastructure improvements," Odum said.

Homeowner Scott Poore told us the money should go elsewhere.

"They should go towards the school system," Poore said. "We need to make sure our schools are up to standard with everyone around them."

Poore told us he feels the increase is inevitable but Council members are still debating the issue.

"We have two Council members who think that's a good idea, two Council members who think its not a good idea and I'm caught in the middle as the deciding vote of that," said Mayor Odum.

They will make a final decision as the budget is finished later in the week.

The Council has also discussed raising the waste collection fee from $13 to $15. We're told that would bring $175,000 dollars to the city.