Thursday, January 29, 2009

BOS: Augusta taxpayer revolt ... part 1

There were fireworks at the Augusta Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday night.

Bob Stuart of the Waynesboro News Virginian was there and has the following stories:

- Appraisal company has drawn criticism
- Supervisors tighten belt for next year's budget
- Editorial: Put brakes on reassessment

I haven't even been able to write up this post about the meeting because my phone has not stopped ringing all day. There is a taxpayer revolt in the works and it began playing out at the Government Center as dozens of citizens supported the 16 speakers who addressed the Board.

Wednesday night's meeting was not an organized effort but, rather, citizens showing up at the first BOS meeting after receiving their new real estate assessments. It was impressive ... a packed house ... and it presented something I have never seen before in my 8-9 years of attending those meetings -- citizens shouting at supervisors.

After listening to citizens, the board members began addressing the audience ... and for the first time in my memory citizens shouted back at the board from their seats or from the rear of the room. Folks around here are generally kind of laid back and easy going. Not last night. These assessments are messing with people's livelihoods ... and they aren't remaining silent.

On one side was Supervisor Tracy Pyles (D - Pastures) who wanted to roll back accessments to 2005 values to relieve the tax burden in economic hard times.

On the other side were the remaining six supervisors (2 Independents, 4 Republicans), some who were openly combative toward Mr. Pyles for his stand with the citizens, and who maintained they needed revenue to continue services in the county.

Next: 16 members of the Augusta County community speak up.


Richard said...

Since this was the first BOS meeting I've ever been to, I was wondering if this was normal; it was almost like a movie... I kept wishing I had brought popcorn. I left thinking that if they are all like that, I'm going to the next one. What really made me angry was what I heard one of the supervisors say to a friend of his that was seating behind me. The guy said that there was a large crowd today and the supervisor replied 'Yey, Tracy's got them all wound up'. He then went on to say, in effect, - 'These people think they have it so bad, then you go to a country where people are really suffering and you see how lucking you have it' (He was referring to an overseas trip he, or his friend, just made. I was shocked because he gave me the impression that he viewed us as whiny peasants and that we shouldn't stand up to them until it gets so bad that we're living in grass hunts.

David Beyeler made a statement during the meeting that got me riled up too - 'If your land assessment doesn't match your neighbors, then you have a case'. Now how does that make sense when your neighbors is over appeased too?

Tracy was very impressive; he basically took all 6 supervisors on by himself and, IMHO, made them look like fools. If we had more politicians like him, this country would be much better off.

The statement that one of the supervisors made about the 'Yankee Invasion' is true, but he could of worded it better. Way back in the mid 90's I had finally saved up enough money for land in Rockbridge county, but found out that prices where skyrocketing due to all the northerners moving down here. I saw the writing on the wall and knew that I had to get something before it was too late, so I had to go all the way down to Raphine till I found something that I liked and wasn't overpriced. Now that 11 acres that I bought in 95 for $25k (and everyone told me I was a fool for spending that much) is now worth over $120K.... by Augusta County's thinking. And what used to be two barren hills across the way now have homes on them. And guess who lives in those homes, Yankee's, so the statement was true because all these price hikes started in Northern Virginia and migrated down. It's just not here; I know people from West Virginia who are having the same problem. I'm not saying I have anything against people from up north moving down here, I'm just saying it does effect us in many ways that they don't seem to realize.

Remember this when election time comes around so we can get different people on the board. Maybe they won't be any different, but we already know that the people we have now, minus Tracy, do not have our best interest at heart.

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Richard, sorry I missed you at the meeting. You are invited to join us for an organizational meeting for Homeowners Against Unjust Assessments on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7:00 pm. Location to be announced.

Petitions are being circulated in the community and can be picked up at the meeting. Tracy Pyles has been invited to speak; Francis Chester will be there to address the group.

Petitions can be found at Riverside Grocery in Churchville, T-Bone Tooter's, Junction at Buffalo Gap, Jake's Convenience on Rt. 250, the Churchville library, and other locations.

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, March 11, 2009, when we will ALL attend the Board of Supervisors meeting. Spread the word -- we want a crowd!

Email if you want more information or to be added to the email list for information:

Let everyone know!