Windsor raises water rate, meals tax

Published 8:49 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Windsor Town Council approved a 22-percent water rate increase and a 1-cent increase for its meals tax after no one favored or opposed either during public hearings on Tuesday.

The average water bill of $35.50 every two months will jump to $42.99; the increase is needed to pay down debt on the system.

The current rate generates $357,250 annually; the new rate should yield about $60,000 extra. New rates will go into effect on July 1.

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Councilman N. Macon Edwards III questioned the need for the meals tax increase, which went from 4 cents to 5 cents. The 20-percent increase should bring in $41,000 annually.

“We ought not to raise the tax,” Edwards said. “I’m not in favor of it this year, but I’m not saying let’s not look at it next year.”

“We’re looking at how to spot-check on the meals tax being paid correctly,” Mayor Carita Richardson said. “There’s no oversight on it. The concern is that the amount is correct, and periodic checks will be done later.”

Councilman J. Clinton Bryant asked how Windsor compares with surrounding municipalities. Smithfield will go from 5 percent to 6 percent.

Franklin and Suffolk are at 6½ percent. And the state adds its own tax of 5 percent.

“I’d rather raise the meals tax and lower the real estate tax,” said Vice Mayor Wesley Garris.