Campbell County to Discuss Meals Tax

Campbell Co., VA - If you eat out in Campbell County you could soon see a meals tax of up to 4% on your receipt, all of which will go to Campbell County Schools.

Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors will present information about the meals tax referendum on November's ballot. They will discuss the potential impact and try to help people understand it better.

The school system has really taken a hit; It has decreased its budget by $8 million, eliminated 129 positions and closed two schools. The project is called Food for Thought and so far, locals we spoke with seem just fine with it.

"Being a former teacher, I think it will be worth while, because teachers are so low pay and there's got to be a way to get some revenue for them," said Tom Henderson, a restaurant patron.

Henderson says a meals tax in the county would not stop him from eating out.

"It's still cheaper than the restaurants in the city," Henderson said.

"We've been paying it in Lynchburg forever, so it shouldn't make that much difference, and the schools need it," said Stan Maschal, a restaurant patron.

In Lynchburg, the meals tax is currently 6.5%. The county wants theirs to be around 4% or less. It is something Country Cookin' General Manager Jessie Cobbs says will not hurt her business.

"I don't think four percent would keep people away from the restaurant, especially if it's for our schools," Cobbs said.

County Administrator David Laurrell says Campbell County is one of two localities in the region without the meals tax. The other is Appomattox.

"So far, we've gotten very positive feedback on the material itself. It's very factual information. It doesn't ask for people to support it or not to support it. It just asks people to vote their conscience based on this information," Laurrell said.

If passed, the tax base will be spread out over a broader area and will provide more funding to local education.

"If it's not adopted, then the schools would be confronted with a situation next year with a $1.5 million gap," Laurrell said.

If passed at 4%, which is about 40 cents on a $10 meal. The board will also talk about the decline in state and federal funding for education over the past four years and how a meals tax can help offset pressure from personal property and real estate taxes.