By. Kara Reese Pennella, Greene County Field Officer
Motion to set tax levy for FY 2009 – 2010 at $.69 per $100 – Approved
Resolution to reduce the percentage of personal property tax relief – Approved
The County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at the William Monroe High School Auditorium to discuss some tough issues. First the Board held a public hearing regarding the fiscal year 2009-2010 budget and tax levies. The Board then turned their attention to personal property tax relief. The meeting concluded with an announcement by Jeri Allen that she will not seek another term as a member of the Board of Supervisors.
The Board began the meeting by opening the floor to citizens for public comment regarding either the proposed budget or tax levies. In an unprecedentedly short public hearing regarding these typically hot button issues, only four members of the public addressed the Board.
Jerry Gore noted he had “no words of criticism for the Board…” but was concerned about the continued cuts in federal and state funding. He encouraged the Board to fight back and “do battle with the State.” He was also concerned about the County’s increased financial responsibility for the regional jail.
Andrea Wilkinson noted that it was clear that there had been efforts to keep costs down. She applauded the effort of both the Board and School Board to “keep from a larger than necessary tax increase.”
One citizen took the opportunity to express her frustration with the increase in her property assessment. She noted that she had appealed the assessment but had never received a letter regarding the outcome. She was concerned that her home would never sell for the assessed value. She noted “I only want to pay my fair share.”
School Board Chair Michelle Flynn thanked the Board for their cooperation and open communication with the School Board during this budget session.
FY 2009-2010 Budget
Following public comment the Board discussed the budget. B. Peyton noted that like most of the country “Greene has experienced a serious economic condition.” The proposed budget reflects a 4.6% reduction over FY 2009. He stated “The challenge of budgeting this year is not the end…but a way of doing business in the future.” C. Schmitt noted that the budget process was “a balancing of items.” The Board had to consider future cuts in State funding and assure that the County did not have to borrow money to pay salaries. Most of the County’s departments and agencies received level funding or saw a decrease in funding. S. Catalano stated “Everybody sacrificed above and beyond” during this budget session. The County was already facing a 1 million dollar shortfall. He also noted that “the battle is with Richmond. To win the war we must send a message at the polls…I have never seen such a lack of accountability in our elected officials.”
The Board did not vote on the proposed budget. They will pass the budget in May.
The County has proposed to increase the amount of the property tax levies. The proposed rate is $.69 per $100 of assessed value. The previous tax rate was $.72 per $100. Although the proposed cents per hundred dollars is lower than the previous tax year rate, most property owners will see an increase in their property taxes due to the higher assessed values of their properties. The proposed $.69 per $100 rate represents a 6% increase in real estate taxes when the increased assessment values are taken into account.
Discussion from the Board on the tax levies was brief. B. Peyton noted “I wanted to set a lower rate but when your look at the revenue shortfall…it is impossible to go that far.” S. Catalano noted “We did not equalize the rate…. We have made a good sound decision if collections drop.”
J. Allen moved to set the tax levy on Real Property at $.69 per $100. The Board unanimously passed the tax rate.
The Board then considered a resolution to reduce the percentage of tax relief on personal property for FY 2009-2010. The Board voted unanimously to set the tax relief as follows: vehicles valued at less than $1,000 will be eligible for 100% relief; vehicles with a value between $1,001 and $20,000 will be eligible 53% tax relief; and vehicles valued over $20,001 will be eligible for $53% relief on only the first $20,000 of value.
Jeri Allen announced that she will not be seeking another term as the Ruckersville District’s representative to the Board of Supervisors. She noted that it is “a bittersweet moment for me.”