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The Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night voted to double the amounts of two fines, and also reduced some fees for businesses.
Fines for writing bad checks to the county will increase from $25 to $50, and citations for parking near fire hydrants will increase from $50 to $100.
Other parking fines, including parking in a fire lane or in a handicapped space, are already $100.
Both of the fine increases passed on a 5-1 vote. Supervisor Timothy McLaughlin opposed the check fine, and Supervisor Emmitt Marshall voted against the parking fine.
Supervisor Gary Skinner was absent.
"I don't know if now's the time or the economy to be raising fees like this on our citizens," McLaughlin said of the fee for bad checks.
Supervisor Benjamin Pitts said the county wouldn't need to increase parking fines if the Sheriff's Office did a better job enforcing violations. The county,
"When I was a policeman, I could write 111 in a week," Pitts said.
While some supervisors disagreed with increasing fines, all of them agreed to cut taxes for 560 businesses.
Supervisors voted to exempt businesses earning $750,000 or less annually from the Business, Professional and Occupational License tax, or BPOL. Previously, businesses had to pay the tax if they made more than $200,000 a year.
The additional number of exempt businesses means the county will collect $300,000 less in BPOL taxes a year.
Supervisors requested the BPOL change during budget discussions earlier this year but had to hold a public hearing on the issue before approving it. Nobody spoke during Tuesday evening's hearing.
Supervisors also voted to reduce the amount commercial haulers pay for disposing of garbage in the county. The rate had been $45 per ton.
Now, commercial dump trucks that bring in less than 1,000 tons of trash per month will pay $35 a ton; those who bring in 1,000-1,500 tons per month will pay $30 a ton; and those who bring in more than 1,500 tons a month will pay $25 a ton.
County officials say the the reduced rate will attract more commercial haulers to the county's landfill, which could increase revenue by up to $500,000.
County staff had also proposed some increases to trash fees--such as the cost for throwing away tires and propane tanks--but supervisors tabled them.
In addition, supervisors rejected increasing three Department of Parks and Recreation fees. They were:
Increasing the cost of renting six community centers in the county from $40 to $50 on Mondays through Thursdays and from $50 to $60 on Fridays through Sunday.
Increasing the fee to rent picnic shelters from $35 to $45.
Increasing the youth sports registration fee from $45 to $50.
Marshall and Pitts supported the increased fees for parks and recreation services.
Supervisors also tabled a vote on increasing fees for ambulance transport because of an error in advertising the proposals to the public.
Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402