Proposed Budget Shows Tax Increases For Gretna Residents

Gretna, VA - Gretna residents may see their taxes and water rates go up next year thanks to several on-going projects.A newly proposed budget spells out multiple increases that would provide revenue for downtown revitalization efforts that have spanned the last few years.Some may roll their eyes at the thought of having to pay more money, but that may not be the case in Gretna.Lou Harris works with "Revitalization for a Greater Gretna" - a citizens group that helps with local improvement efforts, such as adding new benches and flowers downtown.Harris hopes additional tax revenue will fund even more projects."It takes money to make these improvements and if that's the way we have to get the money, I'm in favor of it, " Harris said.Gretna Treasurer Wendy Scearce says town council cut the budget the last several years to avoid higher taxes, but matching grant requirements from the state and on-going work in the industrial park has left them no choice."With increased debt, you also need increased revenue over time, " Scearce said.Phases one and two of Gretna's streetscape project are complete - including new sidewalks, painted street lights, and brick walkways. The new revenue will go towards the final phases."It's not going to hurt the citizens as hard as they think, " Scearce said.The proposed budget includes a slight raise in real estate and property taxes - just pennies per hundred dollars of value, and the meal tax will increase five cents for every ten dollars spent.Harris says it's just a small investment to improve the community."I think all of these projects are things that will welcome people to our area, " Harris said.A public hearing will be held on June 19th at 7 pm to discuss the proposed budget.Town officials invite anyone with questions or concerns about the increases to attend.