City asked for lower personal taxes

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2005

Local businessman Roger Leonard challenged the Suffolk City Council on Wednesday to give citizens a break on their personal property taxes this year.

Other localities, including Chesapeake, have reduced personal property taxes this year, he said, during the public comment section of Wednesday’s council meeting.

&uot;It’s fair to assume we will see an increase,&uot; Leonard said, projecting the city would take in an additional $10 million in taxes.

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&uot;The burden of your spending is on the backs of property owners,&uot; he said. &uot;You have had great success with your economic development this year and I don’t think it will hurt to give back to citizens.&uot;

John Dodson, a convenience store owner in northern Suffolk, called for the council to invest more money in Suffolk Public Schools. The key to increasing the city’s 58 percent passage on the Standards of Learning is experienced teachers, he said.

&uot;Last year, Suffolk hired 26 non-experienced teachers,&uot; Dodson said. &uot;The labor pool for teachers is beginning to shrink.&uot;

Suffolk is competing with other school systems, including Chesapeake, for qualified teachers, he added.

Leroy Schmidt, a Bennetts Creek resident, said he is opposed to the city’s proposal to take over maintenance of roads now maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

&uot;We should have a referendum for the roads and let people decide,&uot; Schmidt said.