Seated from left to right: Delegate Rob Bloxom, retiring Senator Lynwood Lewis, Accomack Board Chairman Robert Crockett, Northampton Board Chairman John Coker and Tyler Edmonds, a representative with Congresswoman Jen Kiggans office.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce held its semiannual Eggs and Issues Breakfast Thursday morning at the Oyster Farm in Cape Charles. Board of Supervisors Chairmen Robert Crockett and John Coker along with Delegate Rob Bloxom and retiring Senator Lynwood Lewis were available to answer questions from those attending.
On the subject of the possibility of lowering taxes, both Crockett and Coker sited the problems both counties have in fighting competition to keep deputies, teachers and other county employees. Crockett said that a recent 7% pay increase for county employees will have to be increased in the upcoming budget to make Accomack competitive thus without a major increase in the assessment of real estate and personal property, it doesn’t appear that lower taxes are possible at this time. Coker agreed that both counties are in the same position when it comes to attracting and keeping staff. It was noted that compared to other locations in Virginia that Accomack and Northampton county tax revenues rank in the lower third.
When asked about the issue of short term rentals and if the General Assembly might act on that matter, Delegate Bloxom said that he doesn’t expect many changes and that regulating short term rentals will probably remain in the hands of the localities. Bloxom did say that if any localities try to impose overly strict ordinances that make it impossible to establish an Air B&B, that could provoke the state government to intervene.
When asked if there was anything in the works to help establish workforce housing in rural counties, John Coker said that Northampton is looking at a project to build multi-family housing, and that one or two more are a possibility as well. Coker said that workforce housing is number two on the priority list just behind getting the school project underway.
Crockett said that with development at Wallops and the expectation that there could be as many as 30 launches a year at the Wallops Flight Facility by 2030, the Planning and Zoning Department has developed ap policy that will help qualified developers to get to yes when they apply for permits.
We will have more on the Eggs and Issues event on a later newscast.