Letter – Don’t blame McCarty

Published 7:51 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Ms. Tracy Hendrix cannot submit answers to the candidate questions asked by this newspaper, nor did she answer the ones from WAVY TV 10 news. Still, she continues to advertise her lack of knowledge of county events, practices and processes. 

Yes, the then-seated 2008 Board of Supervisors foolishly overpaid for the Stoup property. But no one on that board is currently in office, so which one of their seats is she running for?

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Since 2016, with Mr. William McCarty in the seat that she’s supposedly seeking, there have been ongoing attempts to market the site. Supervisor McCarty was instrumental in cleaning up this eyesore property and making it marketable. VDOT and others had utilized the property as a quasi-dumping ground of sorts for all kinds of debris. This property, with no possibility of public water and sewer, this flood zone property, has had few prospects. 

In the years following the mid to late 2000s, when the property was offered at auction, a local historian’s highest bid was $500, and that was the only offer. Thus, some 14 years after its purchase, when a small oyster company that owns the adjacent James River oyster rights asked to buy the property, the current board entertained the offer. With no other seriously interested parties, McCarty and current board members accepted their $100,000 offer, which is currently above the assessed value of that property. 

This current board encourages and supports our growing small-business community. Hopefully, citizens and businesses alike recall what they did for our small businesses during the pandemic on two separate occasions.

Besides, operating an oyster business from this property requires neither public water nor sewer, but it does put the property and a growing business back on the tax books. I believe that beats the $500 auction offer; plus, the historian would have likely applied for a historical tax-exempt status on the property.

According to Ms. Hendrix’s advertisements, in full military uniform, which I thought was a no-no, one can assume that she would have handled this historic situation much better. Unfortunately, she does not share an explanation of how! However, she does intertwine 2023’s state-mandated real estate appraisal with this county property. Perhaps she is unaware that county-owned property, appraised at any price, generates no real estate tax revenue. And this property sold for more than the assessed value! Or is it that she just doesn’t like oysters? Who knows?


James C. Baines