Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Taxes increase after lively debate
The Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors voted 4-3 to increase the personal property tax rate from $5 to $6.26 per $100 of assessed value, a 7-cent decrease from what Interim County Administrator Doug Barnes recommended in the fiscal year 2010 budget. Of that 7-cent decrease, the school system will sustain 67 percent of it. That means the school system will have to cut $465,000 from its budget (I’ve been told they will use stimulus funds) and the county will have to cut $229,000, likely coming from its reserve funds.
Supervisors Gary Jackson and Jerry Logan were the strongest opponents of the tax increase. Jackson questioned the school’s early retirement program, and said it has an "interesting twist" because most buy-out programs are used to reduce workforce. Logan, who is an owner of a local business, said the rise in the tax rate would hurt businesses and possibly further hamper car sales. He said a person buying a $30,000 car would pay $950, or $200 extra, for the personal property tax rate.
Gary Skinner was one of the biggest proponents to increase the tax rate and save the schools from further cuts. He and Logan went back and forth, albeit gentlemanly, about whether to increase the tax rate. Skinner’s argument was that this tax has not been increased since 1993 and it ends up being a relatively small increase when split over 12 months. He said he rather use that money to help the school system.