Welcome to The Maysville Voice, the newsletter for those who reside and vote in the Maysville District in Buckingham County. I am pleased to bring you much information, links, and resources to inform and engage with you as your County Supervisor.
Some topics we will be considering or hearing about during our meeting on this Monday include: A presentation of a resolution honoring and memorizing the late Charlene Davis Snoddy; a presentation from the Buckingham Fire Association on fire coverage in the county; considering scheduling a public hearing regarding our Six Year Secondary Road Improvement Plan for next month; public hearings regarding a rezoning case; a special use permit for a private parochial school house; a hearing regarding a rezoning from agricultural to business; a hearing regarding the Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance; and our Budget and Tax Rate Hearing; and an update from our Economic Development Committee, which I co-chair.
Our upcoming Board of Supervisors regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 17, 2023 in the Peter Francisco Board Room in the County Administration Complex on Route 60. I encourage you to attend to learn more about your County Government and how your tax dollars are spent. If you’re unable to attend in person, you can view our meeting live here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfIL3rVTUEqgxBwXCQoBDTA.
Here is a link to our agenda and full Board Packet: https://buckinghamcountyva.org/administration/boards___commissions/board_of_supervisors/board_agenda_minutes_youtube.php. Should you have any questions or concerns about anything contained in the packet or on the agenda, please reach out to me. My contact information is below at the end of this newsletter.
Public comments may be made in person during three minute increments. You must sign up before our meeting to speak.
Breaking Down Our $67 Million Proposed Budget
Our $67,215,776 proposed fiscal year operating budget includes many working parts that will benefit the residents of Buckingham County by investing more money in law enforcement, public schools, our county employees, emergency medical services, and many essential, core services. The hearing on the proposed budget and tax increase will be held last of the public hearings on Monday. The budget reflects a raise, matching that going to state employees, for our County Staff (between 5-7 percent), two new dispatch positions at the Sheriff’s Office, an unassigned fund balance of $228,257, a decrease in debt by about $170,000, and additional funding for our public library. Keep in mind the Virginia General Assembly has not finalized their negotiations to amending the biennial budget, which is causing a guessing game for localities.
I am proud to say that our budget is balanced with a very healthy reserve fund balance. I commend County Administrator Karl Carter for his work in forecasting and being lean in our spending.
Unfortunately, for many reasons, the budget reflects a real estate tax increase, returning to our pre-pandemic rate of $0.55 cents per $100 of assessed value, going from $0.52 to $0.55. Even at this proposed rate, we remain to have one of these lowest tax rates for real estate in the Commonwealth. The County has done a lot with both the 55 and 52 cent rates. The increase is largely due to the fact that, in order to continue to operate our emergency management services (rescue services), we are in need of revenue. The grant that Dominion Energy graciously allocated the county has been spent. The county knew that, even at fee for service/reimbursements from health insurance coming in at about $1 million per year, we would need a more sustainable way to fund this core service. Also, we are invading our reserve account by roughly $623,000 to fully fund our public schools due to their increased needs (and this comes after they made their own budget cuts, including positions). If the board passed this $623,000 school system need on to the tax payers right now, along with the roughly $800,000 EMS need onto the tax payers, that would be an estimated 11 cent real estate tax increase. With the way the economy is now, with many families struggling, that would be simply wrong.
The county needs more business and industry to grow our tax base, there is no question about it, so we do not have to be so reliant on the landowners for their real estate taxes. The most recent opportunities of a mixed use development with housing and businesses and solar project, both of which would have brought hundreds of thousands to the county, may have allowed us to avoid this tax increase. Again, the county needs more business expansion and industry.
With the three cent tax rate increase, for example, someone with a home valued at $100,000 would only pay $30 more a year. Likewise with a home valued at $200,000, that homeowner would pay $60 more per year. A home assessed at $300,000 would see a bill increased by only $90, and a homeowner with a home assessed at $400,000 per year would see a $120 increase per year.
I do feel like bumping up our real estate rate while pulling money from our reserve fund is a fair compromise for the taxpayers of Buckingham County. Also, we are proposed to double the tax assessed on airplanes from $0.55 cents per $100 of assessed value to $1.10 per $100 of assessed value. I feel this is more equitable in that if one can afford to purchase and fly an airplane, nine times out of 10 that person can afford to pay a little more in taxes to have that luxury.
The budget also includes increased our Public Service Corporation tax rate to reflect our Real Estate tax rate. There are no other tax increase proposed. Also in the budget is a forecasted nine percent increase in our county health insurance plan and removal of vehicle purchases as we will use federal relief money for those purchases.
If you want to look for where someone’s priorities are, or a county’s priorities, you look to their budget.
The Ongoing Electoral Board Fiasco
In case you missed it, on Monday, NBC News release a very accurate and well-written piece about what has transpired since January of this year regarding the toxic environment and working conditions for our former election staff and poll workers created by a small faction in Buckingham. Here is a link to that well-written piece: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/buckingham-county-virginia-election-staff-quits-baseless-voter-fraud-rcna76435.
This article went nationwide and has resulted in many media inquiries, which I
assume will continue to pour in.
You can find a press release regarding the statement made by the Buckingham Republican Party Chair, who said as part of her vetting of prospective Republican nominees for the Buckingham Electoral Board, “if I appoint you and if you get sworn in, will you be willing and open to firing the registrar of elections?” here: https://milesformaysville.com/2023/03/10/press-release-from-maysville-district-supervisor-miles-concerning-not-renewing-voter-registrars-contract-audio-from-republican-chairman-and-unfounded-allegations-of-incidents/.
There has been yet another resignation on the infamous Buckingham Electoral Board. Sandy Banks-Bertwell, the Board Secretary, resigned this week on the same day that the Democratic appointee, Woody Belle Baird Hanes, was sworn to serve on the Board. I commend Woody Belle for standing up and I know she will do a stellar job in making sure we have fair and open elections in our county, and hopefully a soon fully-functional registrar’s office as a large election looms.
It has been stated that an Interim Registrar has been appointed, but I question by whom being there was no public notice of any called or emergency meeting online. This action and interviews were conducted before Woody was appointed. Anytime our Board of Supervisors hires someone or appoints someone, we do so in open session, and sometimes following a closed executive session where we cite the appropriate Code of Virginia section, and affirm this on a recorded vote when we return from closed session. We do the same with interviews, which I also question how those were held being there were no notices of any meetings of the Electoral Board online.
Anytime the Board of Supervisors, or any of our committees meets, we advertise our meetings, and often those do include interviews and presence of members of the public. I question whether the Electoral Board’s interviews and appointment of the interim registrar are legitimate.
Anti Litter Task Force Announces Spring Clean Up!
In Other News:
· Tire Day is on Saturday, April 22, at the Ball Park on Cotton Alley Road from 7-11:30 AM. This is a free event for Buckingham residents with a current county sticker. You can turn in up to 25 tires per household and no tires with rims, tractor, commercial, or equipment tires.
· A rabies vaccination clinic for Buckingham residents will be held Saturday, April 29 from 9-11 AM at the County Administration Parking Lot. Information needed includes owners name and address, along with the pet’s name, sex, age, breed, and color. The price is $10 per dog or cat and all cats mist be restrained in a cage or crate and owners are responsible for their pets.
· The Virginia Office of Drinking Water has awarded a 2022 Silver Award Water Treatment Plan Performance Award for Excellence in Filtration and Backwash to our County Water Treatment Plant! I am proud of the water plant team, along with all of our county employees.
· Jamie Shumaker, our IT Manager, has completed and received a certificate for his completing a Information Security Basics Course with Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service National Emergency Response and Recovering Training Center.
Should you have any questions, concerns, ideas, or opinions about this newsletter, county government,
services, opportunities, etc., please never hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at 434-390-7023 via text or phone, email me at email@example.com, or write me at PO Box 188, Buckingham,
Thomas Jordan Miles III
Member, Buckingham County Board of Supervisors
District Four Supervisor (Maysville)
13170 West James Anderson Highway
PO Box 188
Buckingham, Virginia 23921