, 2015

Boat tax reductions
for Lancaster County
won’t come in 2014

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—Recreational boat owners will have to wait another year before they could see any possible relief in the personal property tax rate for their boats moored in Lancaster County.

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A citizen committee was appointed earlier in July to work with supervisors and review the competitiveness of Lancaster’s rates and the impact of a possible rate reduction on the county budget. However, due to summer vacation schedules, there is not enough time to do a thorough study of the fees before the August 1 deadline for preparation of this year’s tax bills, said county administrator Frank Pleva.

“Like any other new or changed property tax levy, any proposed change to the boat tax levy will require advertising and conducting a public hearing prior to the enactment of an amendment to the county’s tax levies ordinance by the board of supervisors,” he said. Pleva said he and board chairman Wally Beauchamp “are of the opinion it is simply not possible to responsibly complete this process” and have it approved by supervisors by a July 31 deadline.

He said the committee is expected to start meeting sometime after the Labor Day holiday.

Some members of the boating community have expressed concerns that two of the citizens appointed to the committee, former county administrator Bill Pennell and former county assistant administrator Jack Larson, still represent Lancaster government, since they haven’t been retired that long. Larson continues to oversee the county’s budgeting process on a contract basis.

The other two citizens on the committee include Bruce Sanders of Rappahannock Yachts and Clay Holcomb of Chesapeake Boat Basin.

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