BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — The Bristol, Virginia City Council approved a series of tax and fee increases as part of the 2023-24 budget.
The board voted to raise hotel occupancy taxes from 9% to 13% and restaurant meal tax rates from 7% to 10%. They also approved the solid waste fee from $33 to $60 per month.
They approved a property tax increase last month.
Residents at the meeting expressed frustration about the solid waste fee in particular, but city leaders say generating more revenue is necessary to cover the costs of safely closing the town’s landfill.
“It’s not fun, but I’m afraid we have no other choice,” said council member Anthony Farnum.
Other city leaders joined with residents in expressing frustration at this year’s budget. Initially, city and school officials had agreed on a $1 million funding increase for the district, but that was halved in Tuesday night’s proposed budget.
“I understand the dire straits that our city finds itself tonight,” said Bristol City Schools Superintendent Keith Perrigan. “I’m disappointed that the budget you will consider tonight will not include the full increase that was collaboratively discussed by city and school staff.”
The city is still seeking federal and state funding to help cover landfill-associated costs.
“If we’re able to get additional money from the state or federal government, I would say, as soon as the check clears, as soon as the money is in the bank we can come back and we can look at how to decrease some of these rates,” said Mayor Neal Osborne.
The final vote on the budget and tax increases will be on May 23.