Warren supervisors support, oppose several bills

FRONT ROYAL – The Board of Supervisors this week approved resolutions opposing and supporting an array of House and Senate bills that are before the 2018 Virginia General Assembly.

The board on Tuesday approved four supporting and opposing resolutions at the request of County Attorney Dan Whitten.

The supervisors opposed the following bills:

• House Bill 1471: This would make local grievance procedures more cumbersome, Whitten stated in the agenda item. Employees could chose the final grievance procedure to be before an administrative officer or a three-member panel. The county now uses an “impartial three-member panel.” The bill would also shift local government policy interpretation from the county administrator to the county attorney.

• Senate Bill 751: Localities with populations greater than 25,000 would be required to post on their websites a register of all transactions including the vendor name, payment date, and amount and description of expenses. This requires significant staff time, Whitten said, adding that  localities should have the option to comply with the unfunded mandate.

• House Bill 786: On appeals to courts for relief from local taxes, citizens would not be required to show that assessments result from manifest error or disregard of controlling evidence. This would increase the number of appealed cases, and therefore increase local legal costs, Whitten said.

• House Bill 787: This would not require taxpayers to show that assessments are the results of manifest error or disregard of controlling evidence on appeal of property assessments. This would increase the number of cases appealed to the board of equalization, Whitten said.

The supervisors supported the following bills:

• House Bill 579: Localities could impose transient occupancy taxes on state park transient room rental and travel campgrounds. Shenandoah State Park, located in Warren County, has 57 total sites that would fall into this category. A majority of revenue from these taxes would be used to promote tourism, Whitten said.

• Senate Bill 108: This would require that an order of publication for enforcement of tax liens for taxes owed on real properties valued at $50,000 or less be published once. Current law requires them to be published twice a week for two weeks, and Whitten said the majority of Warren County properties sold are under $50,000. He said this would save the county money, and still notify interested parties.

• House Bill 859: Counties’ governing bodies would be allowed to enter agreements with other county building departments for technical assistance with administration and enforcement of building codes.

• Senate Bill 827: This would increase the maximum amount governing bodies could assess against convicted defendants in criminal or traffic cases from $10 to $20. The extra money would fund courthouse security and equipment.