Tuesday, January 27, 2009

NV: "Augusta needs lower tax rate"

"Augusta needs lower tax rate" ... the editorial in the Waynesboro News Virginian tells what is on the minds of many Augusta County citizens.

While talking with county resident Sherri McCambridge on the increase of her property:
The land in Crimora serves as a septic drain field, an apropos use for the 62.6 percent increase assessors divined for the property.

That was almost double the average jump of 33.3 percent in the Middle River magisterial district, where McCambridge’s land is located. Other districts fared worse. Values soared by almost 50 percent in North River. In two other districts – Pastures and Middle River, neither of which is considered affluent – values increased by more than a third.

The figures are staggering at a time when governments elsewhere are staring at decreased home values and declining revenues, and the central Shenandoah Valley has been wobbled by the nationwide housing collapse and its ripple effect on the flooring industry. In two weeks, more than 200 Invista company workers will finish their shifts facing layoffs and gnawing uncertainty about their future prospects and the plant’s. Dozens of other workers at area companies tied to flooring are in similar predicaments.
Only one supervisor has said he would push for lowering the tax rate:
Supervisors, if they felt the pain, could ease it by voting to reduce the tax rate to keep revenues level with last year, something Tracy Pyles of the Pastures District has urged but has failed, so far, to gain backing for from the other half-dozen members of the board. That would require Augusta to survive, somehow, on $43.3 million in property tax revenues. Getting by with the same or less is the task of taxpayers. Forgive them for feeling the government they fund ought do likewise.
Read the entire editorial here.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Many residents of the county will get unrealistic tax assessment increases. As a Realtor, I have witnessed a downturn in real estate prices in Augusta County & the two cities. Myself and approximately 10 other Realtors met with the Board of Assessors & the owner of Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal in an open meeting a few months ago regarding the downturn in the market and the pending re-assessments. Both the county & Blue Ridge Mass Appraisal were very diligent in appraising within the values of the properties. They even delayed the re-assessments by 3 months to watch the direction of the real estate market. There will be some exceptions and those property owners should hire a professional appraiser and consult with the county to get their assessments adjusted.

In regard to lowering the tax rate, I think the Board of Supervisors needs to think long and hard. Personnel at the county and residents of the county, both, fuss about the growth we are experiencing and if the tax rate is lowered it will only encourage more people to settle in this area. Our tax base is extremely lower than the majority of the states and localities to the north of us. As a Realtor, I see the shock on people's faces when I tell them how much their taxes will be on the property they are considering and they are even more pleased to hear there is no school or swimming pool taxes. As a Realtor I welcome the growth, but as a resident I don't want to encourage even more growth by foolishly lowering the tax rate. Lastly, if more businesses, like the Toyota plant at the airport, were approved by the county officials and residents we could make money off the businesses instead of going after homeowners for more money. And the employees at Invista would have another business to seek employment with