IOW supervisors vote 3-2 against raising taxes

Published 8:21 am Friday, September 21, 2012



ISLE OF WIGHT—Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors on Thursday voted 3-2 against a proposed 4-cent property tax rate increase.

Voting against it were Smithfield District Supervisor Al Casteen, Windsor District Supervisor Dee Dee Darden and Newport District Supervisor Byron “Buzz” Bailey. Hardy District Supervisor JoAnn Hall and Carrsville District Supervisor Rex Alphin favored the increase.

During the recent reassessment, county property values fell by an average of 6 percent. So a home valued at $200,000 in 2010 is now valued at $188,000 for taxing purposes. That decrease will result in about a $1.7 million shortfall in tax revenue.

The proposal called for increasing the tax rate from 65 cents for every $100 of assessed property value to 69 cents. If approved, the owner of a property assessed at $188,000 would pay $1,297 in property taxes. That same property owner paid $1,300 when it was assessed at $200,000

“In our current budget we are $3 million short, and add to that an extra $2 million,” Hall said. “That’s a $5 million shortfall for next year. I don’t want to pay more taxes, but we have to get infrastructure in place now.”

Alphin said with the money the county has spent from unassigned funds would make it fiscally irresponsible to vote against the rate increase.

“If it’s a choice between doing something that is fiscally responsible for the county and winning an election, let me loose,” he said.

Casteen believes that the board will have a better perspective and should wait to consider raising taxes until next budget season. This would allow time for a number of economic investments to come online, including Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The Windsor company is investing $180 million into its new facility, which will create 800 jobs.

“I am passionate about my job,” he said. “We could sit here and interpret numbers and interpret numbers, but I feel strongly that this is not the time to increase taxes, we need to know where we stand before a revenue increase.”

“We try to be business friendly and we aren’t if we raise taxes,” Bailey added.