Proposed airplane tax increase in Danville causing controversy among city council

Proposed increase would more than double the current rate

DANVILLE, Va. – It could soon cost plane owners a lot more to house their airplanes at Danville Regional Airport.

Currently, anyone who houses their airplane at Danville Regional Airport pays a property tax of .30 cents for every $100 of the assessed value of the plane.

Councilman Fred Shanks has proposed increasing that to .70 cents per $100 of the assessed value.

"I'm opposed to the large increase to the real estate tax that's being included in this budget, and also the meals and lodging taxes," Shanks explained.

A .50 cent increase in the real estate tax and a 1 percent increase in the meals and lodging taxes have been proposed.

Shanks believes the airplane tax should be increased in order to reduce these proposed increases, but admitted that the airplane tax increase would not come close to offsetting the other proposed increases.

"If we go with the .60 or .70 cent tax, which is twice the .30 cent tax but more appropriate, I think that's not going to run off the customers," said Shanks.

But councilman Lee Vogler thinks the tax increase will cause people who currently house their planes at the airport to move them to a different airport.

In fact, he received a letter in the mail Tuesday night from an airplane owner saying he will move if the tax is increased and Vogler believes the owner is not alone.Vogler believes the owner is not alone.

"We'll lose the hanger fees also, because they pay thousands of dollars each year in hanger fees," Vogler pointed out.

In the letter, the owner references the .90 cent rate, which was the original proposal, but Vogler believes that even with the proposed increase reduced to .70 cents owners will still leave.

The owner who wrote the letter said altogether he pays the city more than $11,000 a year.

On top of that, Vogler said even at .90 cents per $100 of assessed value, the city would only get an extra $15,000 a year, and if plane owners start to leave because of the increase the amount of money the city would lose would quickly exceed that.

The airplane tax will be voted on at the May 16 city council meeting.

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