Letter: Our county budget: Are you listening?

Friends and citizens of our county, are you listening?

Our board of supervisors (BOS) has presented a proposed budget for 2015, and conducted a work session on Tuesday (May 13). The public (that is us) may attend the work session, and listen and watch as the members of the board go through many line items. The budget proposes to increase revenues by raising our tax rate by 4 cents — making our new tax rate 69 cents per $100 of assessed value. (We are still below the tax rate in many of our neighboring jurisdictions.)

Is it really necessary to raise property taxes? Instead, why not cut the proposed expenses? Why not increase our tax base so that we need not rely solely on property tax for revenue? (The latter is a long-term project and we all need to give our input.)

There is a lot to learn from understanding the budget and the budget process, and whether or not it is really necessary to raise our taxes. If you are a Rappahannocker who lives here all the time (a “stay-here”), you should be interested. Though there was no opportunity for public comment at this work session, you can call your supervisor and tell him what you think, if you do think.

The final budget will be presented and voted on by the board at their regular monthly meeting on June 2. There is public comment on June 2 at the BOS meeting and citizens of the county may speak their mind before the elected representatives vote the amended budget up or down.

If, on the other hand, you are one of our Rappahannockers who comes and goes (“weekender”), you may not vote here. Nevertheless we invite you to learn about our community; you never know, one day you may decide to stay here, like some of us did.

The budget is available on the county website or from the administrative offices in the town of Washington.

Monira Rifaat

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