DOBSON — Dobson officials welcomed Herrera Vineyards to town.
On Tuesday, the Dobson Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Herrera Vineyards’ application for voluntary annexation.
The move will equate to a little more than $7,000 in property tax revenue for the town.
In January the vineyard, which is located on N.C. 601 outside of the town limits, submitted its application for annexation.
According to Town Manager Josh Smith, vineyard owners did not have water and sewer services in mind when submitting the application. Instead, they wanted to use the town’s mixed-beverage ordinance.
Smith explained that in order to serve hard liquor an entity must fall within one of the county’s four municipalities, all of which have an ordinance on the books making the sale of liquor legal. The county has never approved such an ordinance. Thus, businesses outside of the limits of those municipalities are only permitted to serve beer and wine.
At the public hearing regarding the annexation, one resident voiced his concerns about the vineyard’s intentions in the future.
Jonathan Snow said he was concerned Herrera might one day ask the town to provide water and sewer services, and the town’s taxpayers might be expected to foot the bill. While in the cases of other satellite annexations, those entities, such as Cody Creek and Shelton Vineyards, paid to have lines run to their locations, Herrera was not doing so.
Smith alleviated some of Snow’s fears when he noted the annexation ordinance states Herrera would be responsible for such costs should the vineyard decide it does want those services.
“It’s almost $8,000 in property taxes, and we are losing the Just Save property,” said Commissioner J. Wayne Atkins.
Atkins was referring to the recent sale of the former grocery store on East Atkins Street to Surry County.
Since the town cannot levy property taxes on a governmental entity such as the county, Smith estimates the town will lose about $8,500 in property tax revenue as a result of the sale.
The vineyard’s 54 acres and tasting room is valued at about $1.9 million. At Dobson’s property tax rate of 38 cents per $100 in value, the addition of the vineyard will create about $7,220 in additional property tax revenue for the town, nearly replacing what was lost with the Just Save sale.
Smith added that he had consulted with the town’s police and fire departments, and those officials had no concerns regarding providing services at the newly annexed property.
The town will have to pay the Central Surry Volunteer Fire Department about $480, added Smith. Since Herrera was part of the fire district, the town is responsible for a proportional amount of the debt the fire department has incurred to service the district.
The vineyard officially became the town’s fourth satellite annex on Tuesday. However, Smith noted all updates to tax records and with the Surry County 911 communications center would not occur until Wednesday morning.
In other business, Smith told the town board that he hopes to have an update to his recommended budget by the first week of May. By then he should know exactly how much the town will need to spend on health insurance, retirement contributions and worker’s compensation.
Misty Marion, the town’s municipal services manager, told the board the town’s Spring Folly netted enough money to pay the licensure fees associated with the movie nights the town holds throughout the summer months.
Marion also noted the splash-pad at Dobson Square Park will open on May 12, and a free concert is scheduled for June 10 at the park. Putters Patio and Grill and Shelton Vineyards will be on hand at the latter event serving food and beverages.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.