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Car Tax Update

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved a measure that establishes new criteria for the Personal Property Tax Relief Act (PPTRA) reimbursements. The changes come as new General Assembly guidelines clash with the county's rising population.

The issues raised by the changes are how to allocate the reimbursements, administer relief for vehicles valued at $1,000 or less, and manage the funding shortage caused by the state's shift in reimbursement schedules from calendar to fiscal year.

The Supervisors approved the proposal Tuesday by a vote of 8-0-1, with Supervisor Sally Kurtz (Catoctin) absent.

IN 2004 THE General Assembly decided to cap the reimbursement to localities at $950 million.

"It's a difficult situation," said Supervisor James Burton (I-Mercer).

As Loudoun's population continues to grow, he said, each car owner will have to pay higher and higher taxes on their cars.

On Nov. 15, the Board of Supervisors voted to advertise a proposed amendment to the rules governing the relief. The amendments establish a criteria for allocating the reimbursement from the state, define the vehicles that qualify for the reimbursement and propose the percentage of the reimbursement be decided annually, as a part of the Board of Supervisors regular agenda.

The Finance/Government Services Committee voted 4-0-1, with Supervisor Mick Staton (R-Sugarland Run) absent, to forward the proposed amendments to the full board without any recommendation.

The PPTRA was installed as a five-year program to phase out local taxation on qualifying personal-use vehicles. Under the act, the vehicle owners paid a percentage of the personal property tax of their vehicle and were reimbursed by the state for the rest of the tax. Since 2001, the reimbursement was frozen at 70 percent of the tax, and in 2004 the reimbursements were capped. Due to the population growth in Loudoun, the state cap will not be sufficient to provide the 70 percent relief.

According to the Loudoun County Web site, the Public Utility Personal Taxable Property (Vehicles Only) was set at $4.20 per $100 of assessed value.

OTHER ITEMS on the Tuesday agenda for the public hearing included a Loudoun Hospital Center application to permit a 78,000-square-foot building expansion of the existing hospital. This item comes to the Board of Supervisors a day after the Planning Commission gave it a favorable recommendation.

Another item is a Waxpool Land Development application to rezone 13.21 acres to the PD-H4 (Planned Development - Housing) zoning district to develop up to 49 dwelling units in the Dulles District.