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Patrick County Taxpayer Watchdog Group(PCTWG) Mission statement: To enable a greater public understanding of the costs of governing in Patrick County, to be an entity to receive public comment on issues affecting local taxation and to be a representative body to coordinate these comments and present them to the governing agencies.
BOARD MEMBERS - CONTACT INFORMATION Chairman; Jerry Webb (540) 520-9325 Blue Ridge District 163 Willis Rd, M.O.D. firstname.lastname@example.org Vice Chairman Danny Foley (276) 340-0465 Mayo River District 5088 Pleasant View Drive, Patrick Springs email@example.com Treasurer Owen Caldwell (276) 627-1029 Mayo River District Secretary Karen Cowdrey (276) 694-3054 Dan River District firstname.lastname@example.org Board of Directors: Bill Andrus (276) 930-1461 Smith River District email@example.com Bill Cottrell (276) 694-4442 firstname.lastname@example.org Mario Delgado (276)694-7050 876 Stuart Dr, Stuart 24171 email@example.com Clayton Kendrick (276) 694-7786 (w) (276) 340-8786 (c) firstname.lastname@example.org Mildred Layman (276) 340-0549 Peters Creek District email@example.com Carl Stone (276) 930-2608 Smith River District StoneynLucy@gmail.com Charles Vivier (276) 952-2691 2831 Pilot View Rd, Hillsville, VA 24343 firstname.lastname@example.org John Wingfield (276) 629-5715 3635 Pleasant View Dr, PS, 24133 Charlotte Smith (276) 930-3011 Smith River District Larry Ethier (276) 251-1084
PCTWG GOALS • Immediate taxpayer relief: • Delay for one year the change to semiannual billing until June 5, 2011. Taxpayers have just been hit with almost a $3 million surcharge above last December’s billing that totaled $5.5 million. The actual billings ($5,489,173 prior to $8,151,809 current) represent a total increase of about 50 percent. However, many owners have seen increases to as much as 400%. Instead of having a year to recover, they will be required to again pay half their bill in June 2010. Meeting the burdens will be difficult in these times of high unemployment and a slowly recovering economy. • When preparing the next budget, slow down the accumulation of contingency funds by $1 million to a fund balance of $1 million, not $2 million. The total real estate assessments are currently $1.7 billion. A $0.06 / 100 reduction in the levy will reduce the revenues by $1 million. The reduction will reduce the tax bill on $100,000 value by $60 per year. • Appoint a study group similar to the Land Use panel to report on the pros and cons of establishing a Patrick County Department of Real Estate Appraisal for the purpose of doing a general reassessment to be finished in two years by December 1, 2011. Any action to adopt Land Use should be delayed until the findings of the group have been received. A policy of having realistic market values could overcome the need for tax relief through Land Use or other alternatives such as conservation easements or agricultural districts. • Budget oversight: • Review the analysis document “COMPARISON OF PUBLISHED ANNUAL COUNTY BUDGETS - PATRICK COUNTY” and form study committees on budget line items. Overall this would be an ongoing process that might call into question the need or timing of proposed expenditures. • Review audit reports for comparison to budget for actual expenditures
Press Release – November 13, 2009 – Stuart, VA To request the board of supervisors to study the establishment of a permanent Department of Real Estate Assessment to be staffed locally was a decision agreed to by the Patrick County Taxpayer Watchdog Group at its fifth meeting held on November 12 at the Hooker Building at Rotary Field in Stuart. Attendees at the group’s meeting expressed dissatisfaction with the current reassessment process that was completed by contract appraisers. Complaints included statements that appraisals of land tracts were “done from the curb” and didn’t reflect the value of marshes and sloping land “beyond the trees in front of their eyes”. Not yet having obtained any legal guidance, the group’s study committee made a qualified reference to Virginia State Code § 15.2-716 if the supervisors do not take the initiative. The code says that “a referendum may be initiated by a petition signed by 200 or more qualified voters of the county filed with the circuit court, asking that a referendum be held on the question of whether the county shall have a department of real estate assessments.” The group is confident it can muster the required signatures. “If a department of real estate assessments is appointed as above provided, the governing body of the county shall annually appoint a board of equalization of real estate assessments.” This body is expected to resolve complaints about landowners “not receiving replies from the equalizers”. The six year $400,000 reassessment revalued taxable real property in Patrick County at $1.7 billion dollars. The code states that “when a department of real estate assessments is appointed, the county shall not be required to undertake general reassessments of real estate every six years.” The group doesn’t expect the new department will reduce reassessment expenditures but expects that, even at $100,000 annual costs, on board personnel making annual updates to the system will be a better service to the county. Charles Vivier, 276-952-2694, publicity committee
Facts You Should Know On motion by Lock Boyce seconded by Ron Knight and carried 3 to 2 the Board • approved the addition of one full time employee at $21, 000.00 plus benefits for at total of $29,828.00 due to the extra workload of twice year billing. • Voting Aye: Boyce, Knight, Large • Voting Nay: Harris, Weiss* • On motion by Lock Boyce seconded by Ron Knight to have twice yearly billing for • taxes and carried 4 to 1: • Voting Aye: Knight, Large, Weiss, and Boyce • Voting Nay: Harris ** • *From Board of Supervisor minutes dated July 13th, 2009 • **From Board of Supervisors minutes dated August 10,2009
Letter to Editor of Enterprise • Letter - Voodoo economics of a Windfall • The Board of Supervisors should immediately reverse the decision of changing to semi-annual billing for property taxes. Their decision amounts to voodoo economics to get through a July 2010 cash flow crunch to fund a down payment for new debt service of the new jail. • Our group supports the opposition voiced at earlier public hearings and calls for a reversal of strategy. Semi-annual billing sets in motion a permanent burden on the taxpayer and the staff of the treasurer’s office. Heretofore the County has managed cash flow without short term borrowing. For June 5, 2010, it wants a “windfall short term” loan from the taxpayers to make a down payment on the new jail. It will be a permanent advance unlikely to be refunded to the taxpayers. • This one time “windfall” cash fix will be due just after we’ve been shortchanged for Christmas 2009 by collections for real estate taxes that have gone from $5 million to $8 million. The fix will come due after heating bills and early season farming expenses have been paid, to name a few. • The supervisors throw up their arms crying there is nothing they can do because projects were set in motion. We have identified and experienced a declining economy since mid-2008. The State of Virginia set in motion spending cuts and forecasts a $1 billion shortfall of revenues. A 38% drop in 2009 net farm income is forecast by the USDA. Unemployment figures are high. Social Security cost-of-living-adjustments are frozen for 2010 for the first time since 1975. • The June 8, 2009 Board meeting will go down in history as one of the slickest sessions perpetrated on the citizens of Patrick County. There was a public hearing of a published annual budget that conveniently omitted a June 5, 2010 prepaid taxes billing for $4 million that will eventually be identified in the FYE June, 30, 2010 audit. • What followed was a public hearing on twice-yearly billing which was passed along with modifications to school items and library items. No mention was made to modify the budget for the additional $4 million before it was adopted. • The first $8 million in budgeted real estate taxes includes money for a $2 million contingency fund. That’s a just-in-case savings account. Everyone can afford one, right? Supervisors fully expected to pass semi-annual billing to generate another $4 million just-in-case the jail got completed. Stop the smoke and mirrors governing. Permanently repeal the change to semi-annual billing. • Charles Vivier • 952-2691 • Taxpayer Watchdog Group • Charles Vivier, 2831 Pilot View Rd, Hillsville, VA 24343 Tele. 276.952.2691
Land Use Program • LAND USE PROGRAM • In accordance with the Virginia State Code 58.1-3230 through 58.1-3239, the Carroll County Board of Supervisors adopted the special assessment program in 2003. This program allows for the assessment of land based on use value rather than market value. • In November 2009, Patrick County received a report from its study committee that recommended adopting classifications of Agricultural use and Horticultural use and consider at a later date Forestry use and Open land use. • Since it is likely that Patrick County will model the Carroll County ordinance, the following information is contained in that ordinance. In order to qualify for the two classifications, you must meet the requirements specified below. • AGRICULTURAL USE and HORTICULTURAL USE • - The qualifying land area shall be: • A minimum of five (5) acres in production is required (excluding home site). • Devoted currently and for the five previous consecutive years to the production for: AGRICULTURE: sale of plant or animal products useful to the public. HORTICULTURE: sale of nursery, greenhouse, cut flowers, plant materials, orchards, vineyards, and small fruit products. • Crop or livestock production must be primarily for commercial use. Verification for sale of crop or livestock should be submitted to establish a bona fide commercial production. * Sales receipts “gross sales averaging more than $1,000 annually over the previous three years”.* Federal Income Tax Form: (1040F) Farm Expense and Income, (4835) Farm Rental Income and Expenses, or (1040E) Cash Rent for Agricultural Land. * FSA (Farm Service Agency) farm and tract number. The detailed acreage report provides listing by field number providing acreage and crop grown in each field. • All owners must certify that the real estate is being used in a planned program of soil management and soil conservation practices which is intended to reduce or prevent soil erosion, maintain soil nutrients, and control brush, woody growth and noxious weeds on row crops, hay and pasture. • Field crop production must be primarily for commercial use and the average crop yield per acre on each crop grown on the real estate during the immediate three (3) years previous, must be equal to at least one-half (1/2) of the county average for the past three (3) years. • There shall be a minimum of twelve (12) animal unit months of commercial livestock or poultry per five (5) acres of open land in the previous year. An animal unit is: 1 Cow, 1 Horse, 5 Sheep, 5 Swine, 100 Chickens, 66 Turkeys, & 100 Other Fowl. • EXAMPLES:1 Cow per 5 acres for 12 months 2 Cows per 5 acres for 6 months 3 Cows per 5 acres for 4 months • 100 Chickens per 5 acres for 12 months 200 Chickens per 5 acres for 6 months
Patrick County School SystemFacts You Should Know Woolwine Elem Meadows of Dan Elem Blue Ridge Elem Patrick County High Stuart Elem Patrick Springs Elem Hardin Reynolds
Patrick County Schools • Patrick County High School Blue Ridge Elementary • 976 students 277 students • 77 teachers Teachers-appx 25 • (www.publicschoolreview/school.com) (www.greatschools.net) • Stuart Elementary Patrick Springs Elementary • 435 students 264 students • 34 teachers 20 teachers • (www.localschooldirectory.com) (www.localschooldirectory.com) • Woolwine Elementary • 240 students • Teachers-N/A • (www.greatschools.net) • Hardin Reynolds Elementary • 290 students (2007) • Teachers-N/A • (www.city-data.com) • Meadows of Dan Elementary • 125 students • Teachers-N/A • (www.greatschools.net)
Facts You Should Know • On motion by Lock Boyce seconded by Karl Weiss and carried unanimously the • Board approved to amend the school division total 2008 – 2009 budget from • $28,385,487.83 to $28,607,442.83 or a difference of $221,955 due to the replacement of the serving lines to meet ADA guidelines.* • On motion by Lock Boyce seconded by Ron Knight and carried 4 to 1 the Board set the tax levy at 48 cents per $100. • Voting Aye: Boyce, Knight, Weiss, and Large • Voting Nay: Harris* • On motion by Karl Weiss seconded by Ron Knight and carried 4 to 1 the Board • adopted the $41,119,369.63 with the noted change to reduce the cut from 5% to 2.5% to the Library’s contribution. • Voting Aye: Boyce, Knight, Weiss, and Large • Voting Nay: Harris* • * From Board of Supervisors minutes dated June 8th,2009
Facts You Should Know • Patrick County Budget-$41,119,369.00 • School Budget 2008/2009- $28,607,442.83 • Total students approximately 2607 • Per child cost of $10,973.31 • 46% of PC Tax Revenues($5,230,898) goes to schools-2607 students • Remaining 54% serves 16,237 citizens
From Dr. Roger MorrisDivision Superintendent • Dr. Morris stated to The Enterprise that Patrick County school system ranked 130th out of 132 school divisions in Virginia in terms of a teacher’s salary plus fringe benefits. A teacher with 10 years of experience made $41,894 in salary and benefits in Patrick County. • Please note the following information from the Virginia Department of Education.
PETERS CREEK DISTRICTSupervisorLock Boyce 21047 Jeb Stuart HighwayStuart, VA 24171 Ph: 276-694-3564 Email: email@example.com • SMITH RIVER DISTRICTSupervisorCrystal Harris Smith River District 763 Ridge RoadWoolwine, Virginia 24185 Ph: 276-930-2127 Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgCurrent Term Expires: 12/31/2009 • MAYO RIVER DISTRICTSupervisorRon Knight 105 Kelly Mill RoadStuart, VA 24171Cell Phone 276-692-5481 Ph: 276-694-5291 Email: email@example.com • Blue Ridge District Karl Weiss13139 Jeb Stuart HighwayStuart, VA 24171 Ph: 276-694-7288 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dan River District. SupervisorJonathan Large Dan River District 938 Raven Rock RoadArarat, VA 24053 Ph: 276-251-1957 Current Term Expires: 12/31/2009