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Fauquier County Citizens Appear Apathetic about Budget, Tax Increase

By Cameron Jones

This year’s budget process is nearing finale, and compared to last year, this year’s budget process has been a cake walk for the Supervisors and County Administrator.

At the final public hearing last night at the Warren Green building, Chairman Holder Trumbo opened the meeting and called for speakers, and it was not immediately apparent why the 12 people who showed up were there.

The staff, Supervisors, and deputies outnumbered the concerned citizens, and only three people spoke. The meeting was over in 20 minutes.

Have we come to the point where the citizens of Fauquier County are so uninterested in how their tax dollars are spent, that they only turn out if their own personal ox is getting gored?  It would seem so.

At the initial public hearing a couple of weeks ago, there were at least some outspoken opponents to the Board’s decision to push the Opal water project out to the 2019 time frame, but once that decision was reversed, there seems to be little interest in anything else the county is doing, even the upcoming tax increase.

There was one point of interest however; a common theme that has been brought up several times in this round of budget talks, and that is a growing discussion about the impact of conservation easements and Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) on the budget.

Supervisors Sherbeyn and Granger brought this into the discussion early on, and last night Madge Eicher from Lee District and two Liberty High teachers from Cedar Run District, Mr. and Mrs. Obrokta spoke about elimination of these tax deferments in context of increased revenue for the county, and improved funding for education, particularly teacher salaries.

I agree that we should not be funding tax breaks for wealthy landowners through PDR and easements at the expense of other things that need to be funded for the benefit of all. There is an upcoming series of articles in FFC that will explain why PDR and easements should be eliminated.

It is time for our Supervisors to discontinue this practice, and it is also time for the citizens of Fauquier County to show some real interest in the way the county is being run.

The Board is scheduled to meet again on 11 April at 6:30 pm at the Warren Green building, and is expected to vote to accept the budget as agreed upon without further debate. Details of the budget can be found on the county website.

Comments

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5 Responses to Fauquier County Citizens Appear Apathetic about Budget, Tax Increase

  1. Gregg Jones Reply

    April 5, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I think we are at a very frustrating moment. How little we can influence anything in Fauquier. Our BS beats our farmers and vineyards who are a revenue generator. Some of our citizens are singled our. Yeah, I guess we are getting apathetic.

  2. Scamperis Reply

    April 5, 2013 at 8:52 am

    You dont even know where the money is !!! I have said many times and I have seen no comments or articles about it. C.A.F.R. It has the truth !! Has anyone bothered looking ? You dont need tax increases !! You need to know where your money is and how its being used. You might be astonished and better yet richer !!

  3. Ladybug Crossing Reply

    April 5, 2013 at 7:53 am

    People aren’t apathetic, they are busy. I would have liked to have been at the meeting, but life got in the way. It’s a 20 mile drive one way. I need to carve out an hour drive time as well as the meeting time. That said, I think the Supervisors are good stewards of our tax dollars. They keep our taxes low. They try not to spend frivolously. The school board is out of control! Trying to keep middle school music and PE intact is taking up a lot of my time. The supervisors know where I stand with tax increases – I don’t want any. The school board needs to be watched more carefully at the moment and they seem to understand that.

    • Cameron Jones Reply

      April 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Last year, hundreds turned out more than once. This year; 50 or less at the first hearing (and that is being way generous), and 12 last night, 2 of which were reporters for local news.

      That says apathy to me.

      I have more than enough “life” to get in the way, and I’m not buying the idea that people did not have time. If they are interested they can make time, but for some reason no one cared this year.

      I too want my taxes to remain low, but without involvement of the citizens we are likely to see taxes rise significantly over the next few years. Costs for healthcare alone are skyrocketing, and if we do not attract new business to the county and explore ways to cut spending, the only option will be to raise taxes as costs rise.

      You are correct about the school board, but again, the only ones who spoke on these subjects at the two hearings I attended were current or former school board members and teachers, and you know where they come down on the issue of the budget.

      • Real patriot Reply

        April 5, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        You are right, it is apathy. Being busy is just an excuse. If truly interested and engaged, one could easily make the time. I have followed every budget cycle for the last decade, although admittedly, I slumped off this year because I started a new job that requires a lot of travel time.

        People should care more. I have been to nearly every BoS meeting over the last five years, and let me tell you, that room sits empty more often than not. The planning commission and bza are even worse. People have no right to complain if they choose to not participate. That is simply unacceptable.

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