Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Spotsy supervisors decrease advertised tax rate

Spotsylvania County’s advertised real-estate tax rate for 2012-13 will be a penny less than originally planned.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday night voted 4-3 to advertise a tax rate of 89 cents per $100 of assessed property value—a cent below the equalized rate of 90 cents.

The vote overturned the board’s decision last month to advertise the equalized rate, which is four cents more than the current levy of 86 cents.

 Supervisors Benjamin Pitts, Gary Skinner and Emmitt Marshall cast the dissenting votes. Pitts said the board shouldn’t reduce the rate until after the budget public hearing on March 29. The board can lower the rate at any time after the hearing, but can’t raise it without re-advertising the levy and having another public hearing. 

“We haven’t given the public the opportunity to…tell this board what they expect this board to fund, and how they expect it to be funded and what quality of life they expect this county to provide to them,” Pitts said.

The equalized rate would’ve generated the same amount of money as the previous year plus 1 percent, based on the 2012 countywide property reassessment in which overall home values dropped about 2 percent.

Each penny on the tax rate equals about $1.2 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Supervisors Ann Heidig, Timothy McLaughlin, David Ross and Paul Trampe—who were elected in November on a low-tax platform—were in favor of decreasing the advertised rate.

McLaughlin first sought the lower rate at a meeting last month, but the board opted to hold off on a decision because Skinner wasn’t present. McLaughlin said he talks regularly with members of the recently re-established citizen budget review committee.

“I found plenty of areas that we can make that reduction,” he said.

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