Resident disappointed by candidates’ responses

Published 11:26 am Wednesday, October 28, 2015

To the Editor:

I am from a farming family and I was one of about 65± in the audience at the Candidate Forum sponsored by the Tidewater News Tuesday night at the high school. I was very disappointed to hear Mrs. [Earva] Sumlin advocate for our local farmers to grow tomatoes and apples. It is obvious that she does not understand very much about agriculture. Areas which grow these crops depend mainly on migrant farm workers in most cases … workers for which they must provide adequate housing as well as medical needs and education for the workers’ children. Even our local farmer markets (who could grow their own apples) import them from Winchester. Our local farmers are knowledgeable enough to know that if growing these crops in Southampton County were profitable they would already be growing them.

I was also very disappointed to hear Mrs. [Yvonne] Rose say that if the county needs more revenue in the future that (as a last resort) she would be in favor of abolishing the land use taxation program. She obviously does not understand the benefits to all citizens of this very fair taxation system. Perhaps she is not aware of the five-year “roll-back” taxes plus interest which the county can collect if a landowner sells land to a developer. Numerous studies have shown that on both a local and a national level, most residential real estate requires about $1.11 to $1.26± in services for every $1.00 of tax revenue it generates. Open land requires services in a range of only $0.15 to $0.80 for every $1.00 paid. Cotton fields do not need teachers or school buses, and pine trees need very few deputies or squad cars. Land use taxation encourages landowners not to sell their property for residential development and it helps maintain our agricultural environment and heritage. Our current Board members understand these facts. I encourage the voters in my district (Jerusalem) to re-elect Alan Edwards.

If these candidates had participated regularly in prior board meetings during the last four-year term of these incumbents, they would have been better informed about issues such as black powder, economic development, shared services and land use.

Thank you.
Hunter Darden III