West Main Bridge Project drives proposed $1.3 million hike in Luray budget

Page News and Courier

LURAY ― The town's proposed budget for the coming fiscal year increases spending by 12.7 percent ― due chiefly to the West Main Bridge Project.

In February, VDOT granted the town nearly $2 million in State of Good Repair (SGR) funds for the project. Those funds are in addition to a $2 million Federal Transportation Grant that the town received in 2012.

“The town was very fortunate,” said Luray Town Manager Charlie Hoke, noting that the use of SGR funds will save the town nearly $1 million.

Luray had received VDOT Revenue Sharing funds last year for the project, but would have been required to match the funding by $976,515.

“It's not every day that we get to save the town taxpayers nearly $1 million on a capital project,” Luray Mayor Barry Presgraves said in February when announcing the alternative funding.

Overall, Luray's proposed fiscal 2018 budget increases spending by about $1.3 million ― from about $10 million in the current fiscal year to $11.2 million.

Included in the spending plan is a 2-percent pay raise for town employees.

The town's Transient Occupancy Tax, driven in large part to visitor spending, is projected to increase by 31.4 percent ― from $180,000 to $236,500. Personal property tax funds are also projected to see a significant boost. The town is projecting an 8.7-percent increase, from $158,100 in the current fiscal year to $171,783.

Also included in the proposal is a 1-percent increase in water and sewer rates. If approved, the town's water base rate will rise from a $24.77 minimum monthly fee to $25.02. After 1,000 gallons, the rate will then increase in 5-cents increments.

Luray's proposed sewer rate increases the base rate from $32.64 to $32.97, then in 7-cents increments after 1,000 gallons.

The town's personal property tax rate will remain the same ― 62 cents per $100 of assessed value. A real estate tax rate of 29 cents per $100 of assessed value also reflects no increase from the current fiscal year.

Business and vehicle license fees and lodging and meals tax rates, as well as trash rates, will also stay the same.

Town residents will get a chance to weigh-in on Luray's proposed spending plan during a public hearing slated for 7 p.m. next Monday, June 12, at the Town Office on Main Street.

The town must then wait at least seven days before adopting the fiscal 2018 budget. The budget will take effect on July 1.

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