Vinton proposes a meals tax increase

VINTON, Va.- – The meals tax proposal in Vinton means it will go from 5 percent to 6 percent on Aug. 1.

Treasurer and Finance Director Anne Cantrell says it would help to increase revenue sources for capital improvement needs.

"We have total identified needs of $2.4 million in the general fund. So the increase in meals tax would only be about $260,000 a year. So even with that we will still have several needs that wouldn't be funded," said Cantrell. 

Some of the items staff is recommending to be funded with the tax  include more computers for the police department, replacing salt spreaders for public works, gateway entrance signs and Garthright Bridge Maintenance.

"When we hit the recession we kind of backed off on some of our capital improvement replacements. Now we're getting into an age with equipment that should have been replaced at year seven. It's now getting into year 13, so it's almost double its asset life," said Cantrell.

Paul St. Clair is the general manager at Vinton Appliance Center. He says the increase won't change how much he goes out to eat with his family.

"Anything changes. Gas goes up, milk goes up and now our texts are going to go up. And in this small town we definitely need the help with the taxes and help to get some new stuff so we can be up to speed with other towns," said St. Clair. 

Going up from 5 to 6 percent would keep the rate similar to surrounding cities and towns. Roanoke City is 5.5%, Salem City-6.0%, Rocky Mount Town-5.0% and Christiansburg Town-7.5%.

There will be a public hearing on the increase next month. The town plans to notify restaurants so they can voice any concerns with council.

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