Restaurants in Fluvanna County may be adding a meals tax to your bill next year.
The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors had approved the referendum back on August 1. A judge has to approve the measure before the referendum goes on the ballot in November.
If approved by voters, it would add a 4 percent tax in 2019 to all prepared food and drinks.
“Essentially, what the meals tax is, is a tax on all prepared food in the county,” explained Jason Smith, director of Community and Economic Development. “That includes businesses like restaurants, your local IGA and Food Lion who have a deli department.”
“Very few people are in favor of additional taxes, but as a lifelong resident of Fluvanna County, I know that tax is needed,” E.W. Thomas Deli & Grocery owner Beth Thomas said.“I would love to think there was another way to find the revenue that I know that we need."
Officials believe the proposed tax would generate between $300,000 and $600,000 for Fluvanna County. They also say the meals tax presents an opportunity to lessen the burden that people face with the real estate tax.
“We're not saying that it's going to alleviate or take away that burden, but in a sense it is an additional revenue source, and the objective is to look for opportunities like a meals tax and see what could relieve some of those pressures of higher taxes in the county,” Smith said.
According to staff research, Fluvanna County has about 20 food vendors and restaurants that would be impacted by this tax if it is approved.
Some business owners think there should be more economic development in the county to sustain this type of tax.