How was $200 garbage fee justified?

Published 8:33 am Friday, June 8, 2012

To the Editor:

I remain deeply troubled by Southampton’s board of supervisors’ apparent inability to bring in a balanced budget without a tax or fee increase.

It appears Supervisor Glenn Updike is the only one that understands the $200 fee the board tacked onto the trash disposal is still a tax by any other name!

As of the Census of 2010, approximately 540 of the 4,502 families and 2,785 people out of a population of 18,570, plus 14.5 percent of those age 65 and older in Southampton county were below the poverty line!

Yet the tax rate was increased in 2011. Wingate and Associates also raised our assessments. Did they hold a séance, use a crystal ball or a Ouija board to come up with their figures?

I’ve seen nothing fair and equitable in Wingate’s process. According to a Tidewater News article dated February 2011, Treasurer David Britt indicated only $411 was paid in property taxes on Beale’s packing plant’s four parcels in 2011. The bricks in the building are worth more than that.

That still wasn’t enough so now you want to charge us $200 to take our own trash to the dump.

I ask you again, where are your justifications? Show me and the other citizens in this county what are we getting in return for an ever-increasing and bloated budget? You aren’t going to be picking our trash up, or installing streetlights or municipal water, or sewer or anything else that I can think of that will directly benefit anyone anytime soon.

So if you all still don’t get the picture, maybe I can help you read the writing on the wall!

According to local newspapers, foreclosures are up 9.4 percent from January 2011, and home sales were the worst on record since 1963. Home prices fell 11 percent in Hampton Roads. Portsmouth assessments were down 2.2 percent, Norfolk assessments down 4.5 percent and Suffolk assessments down 2.2 percent.

Now please tell all of us what makes you think that Southampton County is the exception to what is going on in the rest of the country or surrounding communities?

I haven’t consulted a geologist but I don’t believe we have uranium, gold, oil or other precious metals underground.

Four of seven supervisors were replaced at the last election. We have to wait 3½ more years until the next election. I think it is time to petition the general assembly so we can have elections every two years like the House of Representatives.

Richard R. Harris