Proposed Fauquier tax hike is Madness

“12.43 percent.”   Are they Mad?

Fauquier County’s government wants to raise our property taxes by 12.43 percent or so they said in an announcement in Friday’s paper.  They can’t be serious.  But they are.  Should we start the recall petition now or just grab our pitchforks and surround the county office building, taking a lesson from our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine?

You will hear that they have no choice.  That Virginia’s General Assembly is making them do this.  But they did have a choice and they made it 4 years ago.

At that time, the school system submitted a budget that included payments to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) and it was approved by the Board of Supervisors.  Later that year, the General Assembly decided to postpone payments to the VRS for 18 months.  This was a roundabout way of borrowing some money to balance the budget that year.

We all knew that we would have to pay back that money sometime and that time is now.  At the time, many of us, including several members of the Board of Supervisors strongly recommended that we put that money in the bank so we would have it when we needed it but Dr. Lewis and the school system decided to spend it.

This became the new normal level of spending and all future school budgets were biased on including that “loan.”  At the time Dr. Lewis assured us that when the time came, he would find the money to repay the VRS money but since he has quit and left town, I can only assume his plan was to find the money in your pocket.

But the VRS repayments are not the entire reason why the county wants a 12.43 percent increase in your property taxes.  They only represent about a quarter of the proposed increase.  Why do they need the money?

Make no mistake, a 12.43 percent increase will hurt a lot of families and businesses.  You do not need to own a very expensive house to see your property taxes go up by $500, $600 or $750 a year.  You do not need to have a very large business to see your taxes go up by $10,000, $20,000 or more a year.  Every Year.  Forever.

Some may argue that taxes are too low in Fauquier and since we are the 8th richest county in the country we can afford to pay more.  That is a debate for another day.  A 12.43 percent increase in one year in a weak economy is just plain wrong.   They must be stopped.

Bob Zwick                                                                                                                                                                             The Plains, VA



7 Responses to Proposed Fauquier tax hike is Madness

  1. Furious Fauquier Resident Reply

    March 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Oh, Chris you have proved you are utter nonsense. You are a public servant. Be quiet. Sit down. Listen. Stop being a jerk. You work for us. Oh, and your fired. Next?

  2. Furious Fauquier Resident Reply

    March 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Claudia, no one would have to touch the “rural landscape”, the bucolic vistas, or those stupid over rated view sheds. Take a walk downtown and through the strip malls along 29 and you will see numerous empty store fronts. Why? Because Fauquier County makes it difficult to own and operate a small business. Between the ridiculously high rents ( to have a Fauquier address no less), and the lack of local government support for a prosperous community, it’s hard for any business to survive here. I am so tired of hearing that sky is falling routine when it comes to growing sustainable business. I have lived here way too long and know the residents and no one wants Fauquier to be Stafford for heavens sakes, but we do want to survive. And we do want our police officers, fire fighters, school teachers, and social workers to be able to afford to live in the community where they work. On the tax increase issue, that’s just a joke. That’s getting nothing for your money. You might as well throw it down the toilet. We have a top heavy government including the school system. For example, Tony Hooper was kept on the pay roll for how long before the supervisors could no longer justify keeping him gainfully employed?That guy was a crook among crooks so it’s no wonder no one noticed until his antics became way too obvious to ignore. Nearly 1m spent on 3 administrators salaries and benefits for a county this size. To do what exactly? Post in secret county code on FB about residents they aren’t fond of. Residents who BTW pay their inflated salaries. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s department drove around on bald tires. And, then there was the little fire and safety retirement debockle. How many overpaid administrators does it take to run a school system? Apparently, in Fauquier County quite a few with champaign taste no less. What about teachers salaries? One certainly can’t teach and pay a Fauquier mortgage. They make a fraction of what the administrators make. With all that admin we still have a pretty poor functioning public school system. Superivsors who take the job seriously instead of promoting projects for their friends and treating public office like a W and L fraternity and a level headed school board are in order. The real deficit here is a deficit in intellect among our elected officials. It’s time to tell the supervisors and school board the jig is up. The citizens are driving this train.

    • Live free or die Reply

      March 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      What strip malls on 29? And which ones are vacant at that? And you mentioned “downtown”? Are you talking Warrenton or Marshall, because Warrenton is a separate municipality. I agree with most of what you are saying but I am not sure which locations you are speaking of.

  3. Bob Zwick Reply

    March 3, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I was one of Dr Lewis’s biggest supporters? If so,he did not have a lot of support arround here. As I remember it, there was never any discussion about cutting funding to the schools – only how much of an increase. And I never accepted the full amounts that Dr Lewis and some parrents wanted. I do believe in education and some of the reforms that Dr Lewis wanted but if you look over my remarks about the costs of Kettle Run and the renovation of Fauquier High, I have always believed we are spending way too much on the infrastructure.
    12.43% is an insane increase for our property taxes. The 5% or so that was in the paper this Friday is a little more reasnonable. When I refered to the events overseas I was just reminding our electeds that they need to be responsibleto us. And if you look back at the letter, you would see that my first reaction was to start a recall petition.

  4. Chris Granger Reply

    March 2, 2014 at 12:03 pm


    You make some good points. The previous SB should have never taken Governor McDonnell and the General Assembly up on their offer to take a loan. Funny thing, at the time you were one of Dr. Lewis’ biggest supporters and the BOS was the enemy for cutting funds for education–so I’m confused.

    I also am disturbed that you compare a “proposed” county budget to the human rights violations that Viktor Yanukovych and his administration used to oppress the Ukrainian people. Utter non-sense.

    The public process of budget work-sessions, public hearings, town halls meetings, etc. have not even begun and you are calling for a civil war. This must be part of the new norm Democratic leaders, like yourself, are bringing to the local level.

    There is a lot that I do not like in this budget, and will be developing proposals to refocus it on critical needs in our community. These include infrastructure for our service districts, public safety enhancements, ball-fields for our children to play on, and education. This community deserves real, constructive, problem-solvers to craft a budget that reflects the desires of the community–not folks who peddle banter and offer no solutions.


    • rickbuchanan Reply

      March 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Thanks, Chris. There are many of us out here who, as you, are looking for some common-sense solutions to our budgetary issues here in Fauquier. We stand ready to support you in many of the issues you bring up. Just as I believe we should start a good immigration policy with strengthening our border policies, so should we begin our budgetary solutions with completing the long-delayed infrastructure for our service districts. Let’s keep development there where it should be and where it has been planned to be for over 40 years. We can only do that with intelligent planning for the future. I look forward to assisting toward that goal in any way I can.

  5. Claudia Reply

    March 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

    This is definitely a catch 22 situation. More business means more revenue but it will also bring other (sometimes undesirable) growth to our mostly rural county. One only needs to look as far as Stafford County to understand my point! I’m not against the idea of raising taxes (in small increments) but I am against poor planning and distribution of our tax dollars. Seems to me that we need a more fiscally responsible board of County Supervisors.

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