Town of Massanutten Budget

Currently, Rockingham County levies various taxes on property owners, citizens, businesses, and visitors of the Massanutten Community to help pay for many County provided services. If Massanutten incorporated into a town, Town of Massanutten constituents would continue to pay many of these same County taxes, such as real estate and personal property taxes, to help pay for County provided services such as education, court, health, and social services. The incorporated town could levy Town taxes in lieu of, or in addition to some County taxes. Town taxes, in lieu of County taxes, could include vehicle license, food & beverage, and transient occupancy taxes. Town taxes, in addition to County taxes, could include town real estate and personal property taxes. Section VIII of the Final Report details taxing authorities for incorporated towns in Virginia.

Currently, members of the Massanutten Property Owners Association (MPOA) pay an annual assessment fee of $535 per property (lot) to help pay for MPOA provided essential services in the Massanutten Village district. This assessment fee is equivalent to a town real estate tax rate of $0.24 per $100 of assessed property value for the average Massanutten Village single family home. The MPOA equivalent town tax rate is almost twice that of any town in Rockingham County, and one of the highest rates in all of Virginia, while providing about the same services that most towns do. If Massanutten incorporated into a town, the actual amount of the MPOA assessment fee would depend on what services in the Massanutten Village district would be provided by the town and what services would be retained by MPOA. The more services that are provided by the town results in less services provided by MPOA, which translates into lower or possibly no MPOA assessment fees. The advantage to having an incorporated town provide essential services is a town’s ability to balance, via taxes and fees, the cost of services among property owners, citizens, businesses, and visitors. And, incorporated towns are eligible to receive state and federal funding to help defray the costs of essential services. In general, this results in lower taxes and/or fees on property owners to pay for the costs of essential services.

If Massanutten incorporates into a town, town citizens would participate in electing a Town Mayor and Town Council. These officials would only be required, pursuant to VA Law, to provide the Town of Massanutten with the services of comprehensive planning and zoning. The costs to provide these services would be roughly $418,500. Required town services of planning and zoning could be readily paid for by town vehicle license, food & beverage, and transient occupancy tax revenues. These Town of Massanutten taxes would be levied on town citizens and visitors, in lieu of the same County of Rockingham taxes. Essentially, the Town of Massanutten would provide these services, in lieu of the same Rockingham County services, but pay for these services with town taxes, levied in lieu of the same county taxes. Thus, there would be no new taxes levied on Town property owners and citizens to pay for required town services of comprehensive planning and zoning.

Because there is a mix of optional services that could be provided by an incorporated town of Massanutten, Section VIII of the Final Report discusses five (5) alternative town visions with different types of optional town services to include associated expenditures and revenues. And, Section VIII of the Final Report discusses five (5) corresponding alternative MPOA visions with different types of retained MPOA services to include associated expenditures and revenues, if Massanutten incorporated into a town. In summary, it was found:

  • An incorporated town of Massanutten could provide its citizens with maintenance services for all qualifying town roads and parks, including those in Massanutten Village, in addition to the required town services of comprehensive planning and zoning. The costs to provide these combined town services would be roughly $1,368,750. Required town services plus town maintenance services could be readily paid for by town vehicle license, food & beverage, and transient occupancy tax revenues along with a grant from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) for the maintenance of qualifying town roads. The Town of Massanutten taxes would be levied in lieu of the Rockingham County taxes, albeit at a slightly higher rate. Thus, there would be essentially no new taxes levied on Town citizens to pay for required town services plus town maintenance services. However, the fixed MPOA annual assessment fee would be reduced from $535 to $260 per property (lot) — MPOA members would save $275 per year for each property (lot) owned in Massanutten Village. This savings is a result of a town’s ability to balance the cost burden of essential services among property owners, citizens, business, and visitors, as well as, its eligibility to receive intergovernmental assistance to help pay for these essential services.
  • An incorporated town of Massanutten could provide its citizens with law enforcement services plus maintenance services for all qualifying town roads and parks, including those in Massanutten Village. These services would be in addition to the required town services of comprehensive planning and zoning. The costs to provide these combined town services would be roughly $2,207,000. Required town services plus town maintenance services could be readily paid for by town vehicle license, food & beverage, and transient occupancy tax revenues along with a grant from the VDOT for the maintenance of qualifying town roads. These Town of Massanutten taxes could be levied in lieu of the Rockingham County taxes, albeit at a slightly higher rate. Town law enforcement services could be paid for by town real estate tax revenues, which would be levied on town property owners in addition to their county real estate taxes. However, an annual progressive town real estate tax of $0.10 per $100 of assessed property value could be levied in lieu of an annual fixed MPOA assessment fee per lot to pay for the law enforcement services. There would be no MPOA annual assessment fee and 91% of MPOA members would save at least $230 per year for each property (lot) owned in Massanutten Village.

It is important to reiterate that the actual mix of services to be provided by an incorporated town of Massanutten depends on what services would be needed for the Massanutten Village district. The key to what services the town would actually provide is to determine what services would be retained by MPOA and what associated MPOA assets could be turned over or transferred to an incorporated town of Massanutten.