Letter – His views on county finances
Published 4:12 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
Regarding “Isle of Wight hears feedback on $94 million budget” in The Smithfield Times’ edition of April 26m a 10-cent reduction in the county’s real estate tax rate appears to contradict the need for the 1% sales tax increase mentioned in the Our Forum section (“Another defeat for needed bill”) of this newspaper of March 1.
It stated that defeat of this bill result “would cause the county to raise its ‘already high’ real estate tax rate by another 8 cents per $100 of assessed value.” What a turnaround in about eight weeks when now the county proposes a reduction of the tax rate reduction of 10 cents per $100. This confirms that the defeat of the 1% proposed sales tax was a victory for the taxpayers.
However, this apparent victory will be overcome by the upcoming projected property assessments. It is a situation of “smoke and mirrors.” Just reduce property taxes and increase assessment values; the taxpayers never get a fair deal.
In the same edition of April 26, an article noted that Isle of Wight is among the fastest-growing counties in the state, which is obvious by the amount of new housing and businesses that are appearing in the northern part of the county. Looks like the county staffers are not aware of economies of scale that growth brings additional taxes. Yet these staffers are predicting a 25% increase in residential real estate values with lesser rates for commercial, industrial and agricultural properties. This unfair policy makes the residents carry most of the burden of property taxes.
Another article in the April 26 edition addresses the IW supervisors voting themselves raises effective in 2024. They deserve a raise due to their difficulties having to deal with citizens’ concerns versus county staff who have become the real unelected county policy-setters. In my opinion supervisors have good intentions when elected but appear to encounter pressures that overwhelm their original promises.
Jose E. Hernandez