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City eliminates decal fees, raises personal property taxes

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By Tom Wilmoth

Decal fees are out, but personal property taxes are up in Bedford as a result of action taken by City Council Tuesday.

Following the lead of surrounding communities — including a recent decision by Bedford County — Council voted 6-0 to drop the city's vehicle decals and fees, while raising the personal property tax from $1.80 to $2.17 per $100 of assessed value. Councilman Tom Padgett was not at the meeting.

City Manager Charles Kolakowski said the rate was set to be as revenue neutral as possible, meaning that the increase isn't expected to bring in more funds than the decal purchases would have produced.

With surrounding jurisdictions dropping the use of decals, enforcement of the city's decal requirement has been difficult, Kolakowski has said. The city, like Bedford County, believes that increasing the personal property rate to offset the loss in revenue provides an equitable solution. But it could mean different changes for different residents — some might end up paying more, some less, depending on the vehicles and personal property that they own.

The change will take effect for 2009 taxes, which are due Dec. 31, 2008.

Some 60 localities statewide have eliminated the use of vehicle decals.