Letters to the editor – March 23rd, 2016

Published 6:39 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

IOW taxes and Budget

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    A Dec. 15, 2015 Smithfield Times article titled “Annual IW debt declines” on page 9 stated that the outgoing Board of Supervisors “passed on a real estate tax hike…” Although I applauded this move, the damage had already been done. Let me remind IOW citizens and the new board, since 2011, real estate taxes have gone up from 52 to 85 cents per $100 assessed value. This is a total increase of 63.5 percent. If you own a property that is assessed at $250,000, your IOW tax bill went from $1,300 to $2,125 per year or $108 to $177 per month. 

    Now that $69 extra per month may not seem like much to our politicians or some folks, but that is exactly what we hear every time they vote to raise our taxes. I pray that our new board will choose wisely during the next few months about the next budget. And frankly, I hope they actually cut the budget and start paying off more of the county’s enormous debt load as stated in recent articles and by the numbers on the county’s website.

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    We will be watching very closely how all five BOS will vote. If we see taxes and fees rise one penny, they just might find out their term will end the next election cycle. It’s easy to choose to add debt and raise taxes. What’s hard is to do the right thing, which is to cut spending and the budget. Do the hard and right thing this time!

    Ken Wagar


HRSD will cost millions

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Surry County has approached the Hampton Roads Sanitary District (HRSD) about becoming a part of the District. The “due diligence” process has begun and the county administrator and one board member strongly pushed the rest of the Board to vote on this issue at the March 3 meeting. However, other than citing Edwards’ Ham’s need to have a DEQ-approved way of disposing of the high salt content of its effluent, Supervisor John Seward would offer no information concerning any benefits to the rest of the county.

    According to the HRSD Commission Meeting minutes dated Dec. 15, 2015 the HRSD stated that the goal is to complete the due diligence process and reach agreements with all localities this spring, with Surry becoming part of the District as early as July 1. The key terms of the service agreements shall include but not be limited to:

    • All sewer assets including all real and personal property will be conveyed to HRSD at no cost to HRSD.

    • Any disputed ownership issues related to any sewer assets shall be resolved prior to conveyance.

    • All sewer assets must be free of all debt and/or liens. HRSD will assume no debt.

    • HRSD published rates will be the basis for rates charged to Surry customers. The treatment rate will be as published per hundred cubic feet with a monthly minimum charge specific for Surry accounts.

    • The rate for maintenance and operation of the collection systems will be no more than HRSD actually costs or the average of the collection system rate charged by the 17 localities currently within the District.

    Localities are fully responsible for all costs associated with construction of collection systems. Collection systems shall be constructed in accordance with HRSD standards. Collection systems will be conveyed to HRSD upon completion at no cost to HRSD.

    Plainly stated it appears to me, this venture is going to cost the county citizens millions. We pay for everything and then turn it all over to the HRSD and they collect all the fees.

    None of the above was provided to all the Board members or the citizens who will be paying for it.

    Helen Eggleston


Wants to learn more

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I am a fourth grade student in North Carolina. In fourth grade, we do state reports, and I have chosen Virginia. I am very excited to learn more about the great state of Virginia as I work on my report.

    Most of the information that we get for our reports will be from books and websites. We also like to get information from people who live in the state. I was hoping that some of your readers would be willing to send me some items to help me learn more about the best things in your state. It could be things like postcards, maps, pictures, souvenirs, general information or any other items that would be useful. I have included my school address below. I would really appreciate the help.

    Daniel Moore
    Mrs. Smith’s Class
    Charlotte Latin School
    9502 Providence Road
    Charlotte, NC 28277