Community Members React to Fiscal Year 2015 Tax Hike


WINCHESTER, Va. - The Winchester City Council approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 last Tuesday. In order to support the spending plan, several tax hikes will be implemented.

It has become the talk of the town in Winchester, a tax hike on food when you are eating out. It is called the "Meals Tax", and it is going up from five to six percent. Some community members said they're not bothered by it.

"I think most people expect taxes when they come out to eat and it's meant to be a treat that most people just expect when they come out," said Staci Bishankhe, server at Union Jack's.

In other states, like West Virginia, the tax rate is already six percent.

"We don't have a choice. We have to do it and I don't think it's going to make that big of a difference because we live so close to West Virginia."

However, some have strong feelings about it.

"There shouldn't be a tax on food. We pay enough taxes as it is. There should be no tax on food. Most people down here feel this way, business people and especially the eating places," said long-time Winchester resident, David Russell.

That is not the only tax hike residents will be seeing. To provide the revenue to support the spending plan, the councilors have decided on the following:

1) Vehicle License Fee to $25 from $24

2) Lodging Tax Increase to six
percent from five percent

3) Per-pack tax on cigarettes to 35
cents from 25 cents.

4) Sanitation Fee at five dollars
each month, to be billed bimonthly with water and sewer bills.

Mary Blowe, finance director with the City of Winchester stated, "The city's operational budgets remained stable in the recently adopted Fiscal Year 2015 budget that is effective for the city July 1, 2014. The highest funding priority included in this budget is an increase of nearly $1.4 million for Winchester Public Schools."

Once these rates were put into place, the total approved budget was $209,779,268. That includes money for government operational costs and school operations.

The Fiscal Year will begin on July 1, 2014.

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