Tax exemption ordinance approved
Colonial Heights ordinance applies to surviving spouses of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty
COLONIAL HEIGHTS— At their meeting last Tuesday, the Colonial Heights City Council held a public hearing for a new ordinance regarding surviving spouses of law enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical services employees who are killed in the line of duty.
The new ordinance exempts from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services employee who is killed in the line of duty, if the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his principal place of residence. The surviving spouse qualifies for the exemption as long as he does not remarry and he occupies the qualifying real property as his principal place of residence. The exemption applies without any restriction on the spouse’s moving to a different principal place of residence.
“Fortunately, I don’t believe we have anyone this currently applies to, and I hope it’s something we never have to use,” said council member Kenneth Frenier.
The ordinance came about after, in November of 2016, the voters of Virginia approved a State Constitutional amendment allowing the General Assembly to pass legislation authorizing (but not mandating) localities to exempt from real estate taxation the principal residence of the surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services employee who is killed in the line of duty. At its 2017 session, the General Assembly approved legislation authorizing localities to enact the exemption.
During City Council’s February 20, 2018 work session, council indicated by consensus that the City Attorney should draft an Ordinance providing for the exemption.
No one from the community showed up to speak during the public hearing, and City Council unanimously approved the ordinance in its first reading. The ordinance will go into effect if it’s approved by City Council during its second reading in May. The ordinance can be viewed at http://va-colonialheights2.civicplus.com/ AgendaCenter/ViewFile/ Item/2878?fileID=4398.