The James City County Board of Supervisors and the county’s representatives in the General Assembly identified five priority items for the upcoming legislative session during a work session last week.
Board members discussed a variety of items included in a draft 2016 legislative program prepared by county attorney Michelle Gowdy, but they asked state Sen. Tommy Norment (R-3rd District), Del. Monty Mason (D-93rd District) and Del. Brenda Pogge (R-96th District) to focus on five:
- Amend the Virginia Code to allow localities an exemption to the recordation tax when they offer low-cost home loans to qualified residents
- Delete the requirement from the Virginia Code that The Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance serves as the fiscal agent for the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee
- Support restoring cuts made to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten through 12th grade education funding, as well as restoring funding that was cut to high education institutions
- Support the construction of the Advanced Integrated Manufacturing (AIM) Center on the James City County campus of Thomas Nelson Community College
- Support funding that allows local governments to maintain their stormwater management programs.
Gowdy said the “big one” for 2016 is the exemption to the recordation tax, which currently applies to nonprofits only. She noted the county has previously helped prospective homeowners by covering the tax associated with admitting related deeds and contracts.
“That is something we felt we could propose a change to, to not have to pay those fees if we’re assisting with low-income housing loans,” Gowdy said.
Pogge said she would bring the amendment to the House of Delegates as well as the code change concerning the Alliance’s role as the WADMC fiscal agent.
Norment said he is hopeful the General Assembly can make progress in restoring education funds, recalling cuts that had to be made during former Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration.
“[Gov. Terry McAuliffe] obviously has come out fairly early in support of additional funding,” Norment said. “It may be the first time in his administration that he is almost on script with the legislative body because I think that will be a priority with the legislature.”
Supervisor John McGlennon (Roberts) said the county has benefited from financial assistance it has received for its local stormwater programs and said “that is something [they] would very much like to see going forward.”
The legislative program will go before the Board of Supervisors for adoption during the Dec. 8 regular meeting.