, 2014


Board appoints committee
to conduct boat tax review

by Maggie Somerville

LANCASTER—The Lancaster board of supervisors has appointed a committee of citizens to study the county’s boat tax levy and make recommendations to the board.

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The committee consists of Bruce Saunders from Rappahannock Yachts, Clay Holcomb from Chesapeake Boat Basin, former county administrator Bill Pennell and former finance director Jack Larson.

During the discussion last Thursday, Lancaster Commissioner of the Revenue George A. “Sonny” Thomas presented a comparison of the boat tax rates in Lancaster, Northumberland, Middlesex, Richmond and Westmoreland counties. The report compared seven boat types of varying sizes in order to find the most accurate differentiation across the five counties.

“It’s really hard to compare one jurisdiction to another unless you work it down to specific boats,” Thomas explained. “Each county uses a different set of assessment rules, making it difficult to compare rates.”

While Lancaster’s effective tax rate is a straightforward $1.52 per $100 of assessed value, Middlesex and Northumberland each use different ratio approaches, he said.

Thomas’s comparisons focused mainly on Lancaster, Middlesex and Northumberland counties because he considers the three to be “the most competitive localities.”

“You have to understand that depending on the size of the boats, that figure changes. If you’re looking at the smaller boats (less than 30 feet), they are higher than we are,” Thomas asserted. “We’re not the highest taxing authority in the bay or in the area.”


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