Central absentee voting OK’d; vehicle stickers on the way out

At holiday-delayed sessions last Wednesday (Sept. 10), the Rappahannock County Board of Supervisors discussed several complex ordinance changes at length, including one that would do away with county motor vehicle stickers next year and another that creates a central absentee voting precinct (known as a CAP) at the registrar’s office.

The measure to create the CAP, delayed from August while county attorney Peter Luke researched the issue, was passed unanimously by the board, allowing county voting registrar Kim McKiernan to use her office’s conference room as a CAP in time for the upcoming Nov. 4 election — which includes U.S. Senate and House races and, in Rappahannock, a special election for appointed county treasurer Deborah Knick.

A CAP would help considerably ease the staff’s workload when counting absentee ballots, McKiernan had said; the measure is also recommended by the state election board.

Currently, absentee ballots are hand-transported to the five voting districts and hand-counted once the polls close; depending on the elections, McKiernan said, there could be anywhere from two to 400 ballots to count. A CAP would negate the need to transport the ballots, and would allow the registrar staff to run them through a machine (which, McKiernan said, the office has had for two years), rather than count them by hand.

Stickerless shock?

An update on the county stickers can be found here.

Supervisors’ action will likely take place later in the year on the motor vehicle tax — the fee, currently $20, that residents have paid for the past 30 years to display a windshield sticker denoting they’d paid their personal property taxes on the vehicle

After Wednesday afternoon’s half-hour-long discussion of the issue — which mostly established that the new ordinance will change none of the exemptions currently in place for the windshield sticker program, including those for farm-use vehicles and restored antique vehicles  — the board asked Luke and County Administrator John McCarthy to prepare the changes, which McCarthy said must be approved sometime before next May 1.

If approved, this calendar year’s increase of 25 cents in the personal property tax rate, already a part of the fiscal year 2015 budget, is expected to cover the revenue now generated by the stickers. Because the tax increase started Jan. 1 and the program doesn’t start until May, McCarthy said, the county will apply credit for those four months to the first round of personal property tax bills next year.

Under the new rule, for those who own a vehicle worth $20,000, the annual cost would be about the same as the flat $20 now paid by everyone (regardless of the vehicle’s value), McCarthy said. If your vehicle is worth less, you’ll pay slightly less; if your vehicle is valued higher, the motor vehicle tax will be slightly higher.

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Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 537 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.