Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Supervisors adopt tax increase

On a 4-3 vote, supervisors adopted an 86-cent real estate tax rate, which means most county businesses will pay 30 percent or more in their bills. That’s what I lede with in tomorrow’s story. Get your copy early.


  • bhaas

    Being a believer in the “KISS” method; I like to boil things down to their simplest terms, if possible.

    I have read all of the above posts. Sometimes to the point of having my eyes cross, since I have read some several times.

    I think the central question in this discussion revolves around, is their an implied or actual approval of a tax increase when the citizens approve a bond referendum. My KISS view is that there is an actual approval of accepting public debt when we approve a bond referendum. The source of the money to pay that debt can be derived from numerous places, fund reserves, general fund, etc., including a tax increase. It is the job of our elected representatives, in our representational form of gov., to make those decisions.

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    DJ – in your view… right?

    would you grant that same right to decide using their judgment to other taxpayers?

    that’s the essence of the question – as an elected person – would you think that by just the act of offering a referenda that involved a likely tax increase – would violate a “no tax” pledge?

    If people want better EMS coverage and service and are willing to pay higher taxes to get it – would your “no tax pledge” allow it?

  • bhaas

    Larry, was you question in post “2″ directed at me or, as you wrote, to DJ?

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    Bill – it was for DJ and Steve. i do not feel that I know whether or not either of them as an elected would support a referenda or not for something like expanded EMS or other issues … whether or not the Republican “no tax” pledge would allow them to support referenda.

    This is a key issue for me and I suspect other fiscal conservatives who don’t like more taxes but would abide by a majority vote.

    If you recall.. I did not like the way that VRE was handled but would have abided by a actual referenda on VRE.

    I’d do the same for 24/7 EMS staffing, etc.

    so I fundamentally believe in referenda and in fact, would allow citizen-initiated referenda on some things with a high bar signature petition ( 25% or so.. enough to keep weird California-type stuff off the ballot).

    I’m opposed to people or parties implementing their own philosophies regardless of public sentiment.

    I think this attitude has messed up our country and if done at the local level would mess up our county.

    The saving grace is that such a hard-core philosophy would need 4 votes on the BOS – and I make no bones about it – 4 ‘no tax pledge” on the BOS that did not support referenda for capital projects and things like 24./7 EMS would be an unhealthy form of elective representation.

    So I was trying to get a sense of whether or not the “no tax” pledge would agree to let citizens decide tax increases and I have to admit.. I’m not sure at this point … given the answers provided.

  • bhaas

    Okay, that is what I thought, but I wanted to be sure. I, too, am interested in their answers.

  • D.J. McGuire

    Larry (and Bill, and anyone else reading this),

    You’ll get different answers from different people on that question, and honestly, for me it would be a case-by-case decision. If I see Supes unwilling to reduce spending in a meaningful way and trying to hoodwink the voters with a tax-hike referendum, I’ll call them on it.

    However, in principle, I would not consider offering a referendum a violation of a pledge not to increase taxes (if such a pledge was taken).

    Offering the referedum and then campaigning for a “yes” vote would be a violation, in my view.

  • SteveThomas

    I’d have preferred a referendum over much of the decisions made on this topic over the last 20 years. 16 of them, actually.

    Sure would be nice to have supervisors who understood the value of a dollar however. I feel like they are VERY left-wing, basically never once even considering a tax cut during the Recession- which would have been the wise thing to do- and instead raising our taxes over 15%.

    If there were more balance on the board in favor of holding the line on spending and taxes, I might entrust the supervisors with it. However, as it stands, I would prefer a referendum so they could see what the citizens of the county felt about their taxation policy.

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    Thank YOU!

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    I left off at 95 and you guys added another 12. I’ll catch up. The first 95 have produced the need to respond in the windmills of my mind, but your additional thoughts and dialogue deserve to be included. I’ll try not to be too harsh in my rebuttal comments.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    Fire and Rescue and EMS personnel need traing not more excuses. We can take all the pride and emotional bonding with a great bunch of guys and gals, career and voluntary, but it’s not about who’s coming to our rescue, but what they have been trained to do when they arrive at the scene, with our lives in the balance

    After 10 years from their last proficiency rating, you might think additional training for our Safety associates would be in order. Chief Eudaily and Commission chairman Fred Messing thought so LAST YEAR, but the Commission voted them down as not necessary. What do we think now?

    Do we really think having two separate sets of rules and rules of engagement on the books, is a good working, business model for rescue personnel? What relevance does “full coverage” mean, when WE don’t know who’s showing up at our door to rescue us from ourselves, 24/7, or if they know or have been appropriately trained to handle any emergency?

    Who, from the Spotsylvania County Fire and Rescue and EMS personnel, were INVITED to attend CSX training for hazardous waste management and containment, after the alarm goes off? Don’t recall anyone showing up from Spotsylvania County.

    How long does it take to get to Rt 2 and the railroad crossing at the Bowman distillary complex, should there be a hazardous waste spill? In it present setting,Spotsy Fire and Rescue would take about 20 minutes to show, with Fredericksburg F&R already on the scene within 3 minutes, but across their territorial boundaries. Think of all the finger pointing that would be going on should one of those tanker cars spill hazardous waste and rescue personnel are standing around waiting for jurisdiction to be established and who would be responsible for the consequences for their actions or inaction. When this debate was going on WE asked if the F’burg F&R had been included in the discussion. Spotsy replied NO. How’s that for team work?

    So, what if anything, does this have to do with a budget line item on the cost of safety, whether it be career or voluntary?

    Have not as yet found any answers to the question, except for a lot of label making by all parties of interest in this discussion, after throwing “left wing, fiscal conservative, Democrat, Republican, philosopy, liberal, etc, etc, onto the ground and asking/ daring someone to cross the line they just drew in the sand. With all the economic genius, and challenges brought to blog, you would have thought someone would have come up with solutions instead of rebuttals. And NO, I haven’t lost sight of the OTHER ISSUES contained in this blog. Just though I would give you a rest.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    The 2005 referendum, pre and post public approval was a show I bought tickets for. Libraries, Parks and Recreation and the cost of Transportaion were well attended. The education lobby chose to boycott all meeting. Lewis Watts, Code Compliance introduced Rodney White as the County’s delegated representative on all issues associated with County’s transportation needs. Spotsylvania County citizens voted in the $144 million in transportation projected cost. What the citizens were to learn later was that the $144 million was 45% short of what it should have been. The FLS archives can attest to this. Give Dan a call and I’m sure he can pull this information up for anyone interested in the fine print and those pesky details we keep leaving out.

    Since the borrowing from this sum was not used, but refered to on many occassions by the BOS, it never rose to the level of borrowing that would lead to additional property taxes being levied against property owners; residential or commercial.

    It was always understood, and Supv Logan can attest that to borrow from the 2005 referendum money would necessitate raising Real Esate taxes. This available money, $144 million remained in tact until 2008 and 2009 when Cosner and Silver couldn’t underwrite, or find appropriate financing for their projects in the open market, and who better to finace their projects than the County, who converted somewhere in the area of $27 million of the 2005 referendum, into GO-Bonds, at 3.3% interest rate, to be paid back by Silver and Cosner over a 20 year period. It’s 2010 and Real Estate taxes have been raised to, in part,, cover the debt service encountered to cover withdrawals from the 2005 Referendum money which now has a balance of just over $100 million.

    So, for all the convoluted circles we have put to print, WE still don’t know, or care what’s going on behind closed doors. If the Free Lance-Star, Dan Televock or any citizen can gain admission to the Spotsylvania County “FOCUS GROUP” meetings, why try to debate only half of the story?

    I fail to understand how anyone in Spotsylvania County can make an informed decision on what the tax rate should be, or should not be. DJ and Steve had the right idea but for all the wrong reasons. Political agendas may be a reality of some sort, but who’s going to listen when you use WE as a preamble to your next thought on fiscal management and business protocols? Who is WE? Larry and Bill will play to this hand every time anyone comes up with real numbers and real issues.

    I can still recall and have documented how Dan, Bill and Larry drove off some very real and defining statistics which the County chose to ignore, for the sake of building their empire, that comes with a moat and draw bridge. His calling card was VECORRESPONDENT.

    I have often refered to our BOS as an oligarchy, in the PUBLIC FORUM. When they eliminated 12 oversight committees from the volunteer/ free of charge citizen membership (with amazing skills in finance) for the BOS’s claim they needed more efficiency, without the details or fine print.

    However, you may be more inclined to take Larry’s definition of “perspective” if your address is different from his and you weren’t raised in Fredericksburg.

    I was raised in Virginia, but Larry’s perspective is confined to Spotsylvania, Stafford Counties and Fredericksburg proper. I’m not really certain what ones perspective is or should be about matters of government being played out nationally,or State or Locally. If I were to do, as Larry suggest, I might be better off saying nothing, which I believe Larry and Bill would a heart beat. While the truth is hard to come by in today’s cultural evolution, I continue to believe some part of the truth may lead us to question and get better at asking the hard questions and getting back something other than silence, mixed messages, and the arrogance of those who pretend to rule, without knowing anything about the price and consequences of THEIR vision.

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    Too preachy? Cynical? Harsh? Or, just irrelevant? I’ll race you to the finish line every time, I may not alter your thinking, but that’s something you’ll have to deal with. I’m not trying to convence you of anything. Let your emotions be your guide. I’m just sitting here at the bottom of the page where it says “bottom line.” Two plus two is still four (4), but you can make it out to be anything you want. I’ll stick with the devil and the DETAILS.

  • bhaas

    I assume that all dialog is dead here, eh?

  • http://Z2KS LarryG

    looks like it

  • MGWORK (Marty)

    I’ll assume the dialog died of natural causes. It usually happens when we’re all in agreement and there’s nothing more to say. Let’s wrap up now. We shouldn’t be too far away from the next bump in the road. Larry, you said it best. “Its only going to get smellier.” I’ll take Bill’s advise and take in a deep breathe, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen when I exhale. Thanks for the memories.