IOW votes to hold the line on taxes

Published 12:53 am Saturday, December 20, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT—With the fumbling economy dominating the discussion, the Board of Supervisors voted Thursday night to direct the county administrator to maintain the present property and real estate tax rates when considering the next budget cycle.

Supervisor Philip Bradshaw stressed the importance of careful budgeting on the part of the county administrator and finance committee due to the decision to maintain the tax rate.

“Some hard decisions are going to have to be made in the next year if we move forward with this [no rate increase],” Bradshaw said. “Our economic time is probably the worst in the history of this country.”

The next year is going to continue to be a time of financial crisis, according to the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors, who met for their last regular meeting of 2008, discussed regionalism, transportation and ordinance amendments, but there was one resounding topic that recurred throughout the evening — the faltering economy.

Following discussion of a financial audit report and the financial stress being felt regionwide, Chairman Stan D. Clark brought up the heavy education cuts recently proposed by Gov. Tim Kaine, and pointed out how Virginia handles corrections.

“If you look at the big budget bucks, that’s it,” Clark said. “It’s not education. It’s corrections, and all the prison systems.”

Clark said that it is in part due to the lack of parole in Virginia that prisons are so expensive.

“It is big, big money, and we just don’t do a good job of getting the costs down,” said Clark, also citing the Virginia Department of Corrections’ lack of flexibility getting expensive prisoners out of the system.

The supervisors voted to write a letter to Kaine proposing that he take a look at the prison system and consider lowering the costs of incarceration first and cuts to education second.

Supervisors also moved forward with naming the street by the new courthouse, the courthouse building and the clerk’s office. They voted to name the courthouse the Young-Laine Courthouse, with the clerk’s office to be named the Randall Booth Record Room.

Supervisors also proposed naming the street in honor of Isle of County politician Josiah Parker, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the late 18th century.

The next Board of Supervisors meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Jan. 8.