Francis Chester has hit a nerve in Augusta County. The phones at his Churchville law office have been ringing off the hook since the story hit the newspaper Wednesday about circulating petitions to take to the Board of Supervisors on March 11th. Everytime I stop by his office or talk with him on the phone, the phones are ringing, ringing, ringing.
Dozens of calls earlier in the week were followed by at least 50 phone calls and visits on Friday morning. My phone has been ringing and many emails have been received.
The tax assessment is an issue that reaches across socio-economic lines and has no political persuasion.
These are people's lives.
I traveled throughout Augusta County today, stopping and talking with folks in the rural areas, dropping off petitions at businesses and for individuals ... and across the board they are not happy. Whether it was the farmer with hundreds of acres ... or the homeowner with a half-acre lot ... people were upset.
Petitions are filling up with names, and many of those signing are offering to carry petitions to their neighbors. I sent a notice out on my SWAC email list which was picked up by others who sent it out to their email lists and on to another's email list ... and so it goes. People outside Augusta County are hearing about it and calling for information.
Community involvement. It's like the ripples in a lake, reaching farther and farther as all join in to work together.
This community has been hit hard with lost jobs. For those who have an ear to the ground and are listening to folks, there is hardship. Homes are being foreclosed ... jobs lost ... neighbor taking in neighbor ... the stories go on and on. Some don't know where to turn to find help.
But one thing they do know ... they received tax accessments that caused more pain.
Tuesday ... 7 pm ... Verona United Methodist Church -- "Homeowners Against Unjust Assessments" ... please join us to learn how your voice can be heard.