The Free Enterprise Forum frequently criticizes local governments for a failure to understand the unintended consequences of their actions. This afternoon’s discussion at the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors was a refreshing change of pace.
Back in the heat of the Land Use taxation debate earlier this year, there were strong charges of abuse of the system. The Farm Bureau, along with other land owners, embraced the concept of creating a re-validation program to make sure that land that is enrolled in land use still qualifies for the tax deferment.
To his credit, Albemarle County’s Tax Assessor, Bruce Woodzell, engaged two members of Albemarle’s Farm Bureau in the creation of the revalidation form (pdf). It is my understanding that they spent almost three hours working on the document to make it both information rich and user friendly. The Board of Supervisors approved the form with minor changes and is taking it to public hearing on October 1st.
Supervisor Sally Thomas suggested the Farm Bureau also hold an open house along with Albemarle County to assist landowners with filling out the forms the first time.
This is a good example how reaching out to those who are to be regulated assisted in the development of a positive county policy that has the political buy in from the community. Clearly, by reaching out to ask the opinions of those who are to be regulated, government can do more than eliminate errors, they build credibility and confidence.