On a split vote Tuesday, Roanoke County supervisors decided to take $10 off the fee applied to residents seeking concealed handgun permits.
The change will kick in next summer when the new budget cycle starts. It will lower the fee for a five-year permit from $50 to $40.
On average, Roanoke County fields around 2,000 requests for concealed carry permits annually.
Tuesday’s move passed on a 3-2 vote with opposition from representatives who had hoped to see a deeper rollback to the charge levied.
Cave Spring Supervisor George Assaid was the first to broach the issue earlier this month and suggested slicing the amount in half for a revised fee of $25.
The county is well-positioned to absorb the difference as it’s nominal compared to the overall operating budget, he said.
The $50 fee currently assessed is the maximum allowed by the state. Of that sum, $15 is rerouted to the state to cover court costs and state police processing.
The remainder is retained by the county to help with its expenses. That includes the cost of background checks and vetting done by police.
The exact costs incurred can be difficult to calculate as the police department handles the work using in-house staff time and resources.
After some discussion Tuesday, Chairman Phil North proposed lowering the permit fee to $40. He described it as a compromise measure that would keep the county in range of its neighbors.
Within the region, three communities — Roanoke, Salem, and Franklin County — levy a $50 fee.
Montgomery County and Botetourt County charge $40. Bedford County was at $40 until this year when it voted to try a fee of about $15 for at least one budget cycle.
The new fee adopted in Roanoke County won’t take effect until July 1 when the next budget year starts. North said more discussion about the issue could be pursued in future budget meetings.
Supporting the motion to go with a $40 fee was North, Vice Chairwoman Martha Hooker and Windsor Hills Supervisor David Radford.
Dissenting were Assaid and Vinton Supervisor Jason Peters. Peters said he favored the $25 proposal.