Back around mid-November, a matter of cigarette taxes had been discussed over at Westmoreland County’s Board of Supervisors. Later on in the month, it also came up at the Montross Town Council meeting. The idea for this tax came up due to the General Assembly passing legislation last year that gave counties the ability to implement such taxes. To that end, Westmoreland County’s administrator and several of its neighbors are looking at creating a regional tax authority.
“Before, it was just towns and cities that could implement cigarette taxes,” Montross Town Manager Patricia Lewis explained. “I was included on one of the meetings, in case we wanted to jump on the bandwagon.”
According to Lewis, Jerry Davis, Executive Director of the Northern Neck Planning District Commission also had a conference with town managers from King George, Warsaw, Kilmarnock, Montross, and Colonial Beach, and there’s a fair bit of money to be had. Many of those areas currently sport a cigarette tax, with Warsaw, for instance, annually collecting in the neighborhood of $58,000-$60,000 from a 25-cent per pack tax. Kilmarnock, meanwhile, has a 30-cent per pack tax, pulling $75,000 annually. Colonial Beach, meanwhile, also sports a 30-cent per pack tax, but does not collect as much each year, and in fact has seen a decline, pulling in between $20-30,000 each year.
Lewis went on to explain that the county administrator for King George County had been part of the state’s working group to help implement the taxes when the General Assembly was in session. The Department of Taxation expressed no interest in implementing the tax on behalf of the county. This is what led to the suggestion of a regional effort.
“If this happens,” Lewis explained, “they’d like to get it implemented by the next fiscal year, which would be July first.”
To that end, Davis will be coordinating several more meetings in an effort to get the regional board off the ground.
“I’ll keep you all in the loop as this progresses towards consideration,“ Lewis concluded. As of the time of this writing another meeting will have taken place on the subject, which will likely be elaborated on by County Administrator Norm Risavi at the Board of Supervisors meeting or by Lewis at the Town Council. There are still many details to be worked out.