Southampton County residents can live with this tax increase

Published 7:52 am Friday, April 30, 2010

To the Editor:

Like families and individuals, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors is having to make some painful budget decisions.

Fortunately, it appears that the supervisors have already agreed among themselves to take a 10 percent pay cut in the name of leading by example — a cut, by the way, which I suggested in December.

That cut amounts to some $3,000-plus in the next budget, at the same time demonstrating their willingness to share the burden.

I am sure that most in attendance were pleased with County Administrator Michael Johnson’s very informative presentation at Wednesday night’s standing-room-only work session, which convinced the supervisors not to eliminate land-use taxation. Agriculture is very likely the single biggest industry in the county.

Prior to land use, many landowners were selling much of their agricultural land to developers or individuals for home sites. The land-use tax system is considered a tool to help curb poorly controlled residential development and to help maintain a low-density population.

Most residents prefer more open space and are very much opposed to high-density residential subdivisions with home sites as small as one-quarter acre. If you live on a one-acre lot, try to imagine three other homes on the same lot.

We will likely have a 5-cent increase in the real property tax rate and a $1 increase in the personal property rate. No one likes to see tax increases, but we can live with these in order to save land-use.

Ash Cutchin