Decision to increase taxes should worry citizens

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

To the editor:

The Southampton budget workshop was disappointing. The Board of Supervisors didn’t discuss or put forward any effort to look at ways the county could cut spending in any way, shape or form.

I have attended the board meetings over many years, and it seems that when they want to compare employment or salary increases, they always compared the county to other counties and cities in the Hampton Roads area.

Where was this method of budget comparison now? We are the only county in the area to raise taxes. We raised personal property taxes by 22.5 percent ($5.50) and real estate taxes by almost 7 percent (77 cents).

I think our personal property is one of the highest in the state, and Southampton had the highest real estate tax rate of any agricultural county in the state. Isle of Wight’s real estate rate is 52 cents and Greensville is only 45 cents, just as a comparison.

All these tax increases come on top of poor economic conditions, the closing of International Paper, other businesses failing and closing, and people finding themselves out of work. It was surprising to see the lack of concern for these problems people are facing in our county.

There are many areas in the budget that could have been cut. Why were they not?

How high do our taxes have to go before the people step up and say we cannot and will not pay any more? It is time that the silent majority speaks up through calls to the county’s supervisors and demands that they cut the budget requests.

This year’s tax increase is only the beginning. Next year’s increase will be another increase of 3 cents. This is before next year’s reassessment results. What will that be?

Remember one thing—you, the citizens, have the final say.

Glenn Updike