President’s Message to the CARMA Membership

May, 2018

 
 

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CARMA PRESIDENT
CHUCK MISAK


JCC BOARD OF SUPERVISORS - TAX POLICIES AND BUDGETS

 

The JCC Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tues evening (5/8/18) to keep all the revenue that will accrue to the county coffers, courtesy of the ill conceived “Tommy Tax.” One option was to reduce the property tax rates by a like amount. Although more people than just property tax owners will be paying this extra 1% and have a just claim to part of it, it staggers the mind to find a workable scheme to do so. Reducing the property tax rate---by the exact same amount---would have been a prudent thing to do. Not so, if you think your personal mandate is to fulfill the wish list---not need list---but wish list, of your fellow spendthrifts.

 

As for those who favor tax increases to maintain or increase the quality of life in James City County, as Chairman Ruth Larson has previously stated, I believe the citizens can best make their own choices in how to increase their quality of life. The Board members who supported this decision appear to believe they owe a great debt to their fellow big tax spenders, a debt they propose to pay with your money.

 

Let’s look at the stark history of taxing and budgets of James City County. After the property tax increase in 2015, the FY 2016 budget went from $178M to $187M—approximately a $9,000,000 increase. Shortly after the tax increase, the county announced they had an “unexpected” revenue increase of around $6M, which could and should have been used to lower the real estate tax rate. Of course, they kept all that and added it to the FY 2017 budget—an increase of another $6,000,000. We are now in to some real money; a $15,000,000 increase in about one year.


Moving to the present, my BOS rep, Sue Sadler, told me all BOS members were satisfied with the proposed pre-sales tax 2019 budget; that this met all essential needs of the county. Then comes the sales tax increase. The FY2019 JCC budget on-line shows $204,500,000—but that amount was based upon a $2,370,000 reduction in property taxes then firmly planned, listed in the budget under “Fiscally Efficient Government.”

Interim Manager Bill Porter supported this and was quoted in the WYDAILY as stating “We wanted to ease the burden on residents.” Later, when I heard the reduction in property taxes was in doubt, I asked the Chairman, Ruth Larson, for the reason. She consistently stated it was a “staff” recommend-dation and I need to talk to the budget department. I consistently stated I wanted an answer from an elected representative, not the budget staff.  The budget folks are presumably the same people who had advertised and posted the 2-cent reduction on the JCC FY2019 budget that appears online. So how did they go from a 2-cent reduction to zero? Flip a coin? No, I think the big spenders took total control and drowned out all responsible and sane voices. The Stonehouse Rep, Sue Sadler, was the only one to vote for the property tax reduction and against the proposed 2019 budget.

 

The FY 2020 proposed budget stands at $207,700,000—a $29,000,000 increase from the 2015 pre-property tax hike level of $178,000,000. For those who don’t like throwing money at spendthrifts, you should demand your BOS Rep change the arc of this runaway spending. Having said this, we had two highly competent citizens review the budget a few years ago and made suggestions, which would have lowered the spending, without reducing county essential services. The Board ignored them completely, which is their normal response to inputs that don’t agree with their ideology, which is what is ruling the day.

 

 

 

We have as our luncheon speaker in May, Corey Stewart, one of the US Senate Candidates. 
Hopefully many of you will attend the Thursday, May 17th Luncheon.

 

Charles K. Misak, CARMA President