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Clinch Valley Times
St. Paul , Virginia
February 26, 2009     Clinch Valley Times
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February 26, 2009

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Page 8 CLINCH VALLEY TIMES, St. Paul, VA, Thursday, February 26, 2009 WISE COUNTY PROPERTY TAXES... (Continued from page 1) would like'to hear from them. As the ad stated, school offi- cials over the past several years of debating this issue and al- lowing schools to deteriorate while spending hundreds of thousands on study after study have never stepped forward with an accurate comparison between building new schools and reno- vating existing ones, the co'st of servicing the bond debt for each scenario and the economic im- pact of closing six community schools, not only on downtown businesses but also by losing state funding. That lost state funding has to be made up somewhere and that "some- where" is in the County's gene- ral budget and tax increases or through reduced services. When the supervisors at- tempted a couple of years ago to do their own school consoli- dation scenario calculations some of the school board mem- bers cried foul, as if supervisors had to stay in the dark and vote in the blind. That is ridiculous. The supervisors have the statu- tory and fiduciary duty to make full disclosure to the public of any and all tax increases, the ability of the County to handle the debt load of paying back school construction bonds and the impact that debt service will have on existing and future County obligations. To do otherwise would be malfeasance of office. All one has to do is look at Virginia Code Section 58.1- 3321"; it is clear as crystal that the supervisors will either have to reduce the current tax rate so that taxes will not be raised above 1 percent or they will have to publicly vote for a fully disclosed tax increase. How many supervisors will publicly vote for an approximately 20 percent tax increase due to re- assessment with the full know- ledge that the tax rate will have to be raised again soon to ser- vice the bond debt for consoli- dation? That is the question the supervisors need to answer now and if the answer is that a majority will not raise taxes to fund the school consolidation plan then why spend millions more on planning, debating, designing, etc.? That money can be best used to put in central heating and cooling systems, insulated windows, wiring and labs in existing schools, some- thing that already should have been done instead of letting stu- dents suffer just to make the case for building new schools. Also, new federal stimulus funds are available for renova- tion of old schools, not the con- struction of new ones. Has the school board started the process of requesting that funding? If not, then obviously the pro- consolidation majority put their own ego gratification above the financial well being of Wise County taxpayers. 1 want to be fair but I also want hard numbers from the school superintendent to prove that school consolidation will not increase the County's tax burden and if he admits that it does, exactly how much? Just saying that Mountain Heritage's numbers are not correct is in- sufficient; show us the money and where it will come from then let's debate. The schooi board and past superintendents have had years to come up with these numbers. The new super- intendent a few years ago who finally confessed that consoli- dation was the end game (de- spite public denials by some pro-consolidation school board members) was forced from of- rice for telling the truth. That is a valuable lesson to all who co- vet that job. And a tough job it is and I respect Dr. Perry and others who undertake it but now is the time to lay the cards on the table so the supervisors can make an informed decision and vote to either end this never- ending and costly process or agree to ratchet up taxes to historic highs during a recession that may well be historic itself. *Code Section 58.1-3321 (access this section at http:// leg l.state, va. us/cgi-b in/legp 504.exe?OOO+cod+ 58-1-3321) 58.1-3321 Effect on rate when assessment results in tax increase; public hearings. A. When any annual assess- ment, biennial assessment or general reassessment of real property by a county, city or town would result in an increase of 1 percent or more in the total real property tax levied, such county, city or town shall reduce its rate of levy for the forthcoming tax year so as to cause such rate of levy to produce no more than 101 percent of the previous year's real property tax levies, unless subsection B of this section is complied with, which rate shall be determined by multiplying the previous year's total real property tax levies by 101 per- cent and dividing the product by the forth coming tax year's total real property assessed value. An additional assessment or reas- sessment due to the construction of new or other improvements, including those improvements and changes set forth in 58.1- 3285, to the property shall not be an annual assessment or general reassessment within the meaning of this section, nor shall the assessed value of such improvements be included in calculating the new tax levy for purposes of this section. Special levies shall not be included in any calculations provided for under this section. B. The governing body of a county, city or town may, after conducting a public hearing, which shall not be held at the same time as the annual budget hearing, increase the rate above the reduced rate required in sub- section A above if any such increase is deemed to be neces- sary by such governing body. Notice of the public hearing shall be given at least 30 days before the date of such hearing by the publication of a notice in (I) at least one newspaper of general circulation in each coun- ty or city and (ii) a prominent public location at which notices are regularly posted in the build- ing where the governing body of the county, city or town regular- ly conducts its business. Any such notice shall be at least the size of one-eighth page of a standard size or a tabloid size newspaper, and the headline in the advertisement shall be in a type no smaller than 18 point. The notice described in clause (I) shall not be placed in that TOWN COUNCIL... (Continued ffom p__age 1) modate in the- budget an Commissioner of the Revenue /tdditional $221,500.29 which was received by the Town in business licenses from Domi- nion Ener-gy. Since the amount is more than one percent of the town's total anticipated revenue, the hearing was necessary. Town Treasurer Debbie Baca recommended that the $221,500.29 be allocated in the following manner: $160,500 to reimburse a Certificate of Deposit from which funds were borrowed earlier; to purchase a new CD; $22,000 for the snow plow and related bad weather equip- ment; $5500 to supplement funds expended for repairs, such as the handicapped ramp at the side of the Town Hall; $3,500.29 for Christmas ex- penses; $3,000 for feeding and trans- porting inmates who provide work for the town; and $16,000 for reimbursing travel and related expenses. The vote on the changes will be held during the March Town Council meeting. Engineer Mark Hill reported on work being done to upgrade the sewage treatment plant--a PER (preliminary engineering -report) is being written for the project. Wise County has ex- pressed some interest in buying some capacity of the expanded plant, just as Russell County will do. St. Paul would retain ownership of the plant. Town Treasurer Baca report- ed that the Town's invitation to Doug Mullins has resulted in a letter in which Mullins invites the Council, evidently as indi- viduals, to make appointments to come to his office for infor- mation on the tax reassessment. Council voted to take advantage of the offer. Mayor Fletcher told Council that the three days of meetings in Richmond were spent dis- cussing funding, including stim- ulus funding, with various groups, including the tobacco commission, VDOT, Parks and Recreation, and Downtown Re- vitalization official Todd Chris- tiansen. Councilman Grant Marshall reported that the new street signs, all of which meet VDOT requirements, are ready to be installed. SPHS student and state FBLA officer Drew Mullins asked the Council if it would sponsor a competitive event at the state FBLA conference at a cost of $150. Council voted a $200 contribution for the event. A public hearing concerning a request for a USDA grant, which would fund a new police car, was scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Monday, March 16, which is the next Town Council meeting date. Present for the meeting were Council members Sharon Steele, Harry Kelly, Grant Marshall and Kenneth Hoibrook; Mayor Kyle Fletcher; Town Attorney Mit- chell Mobley; Town Treasurer Debbie Baca; and several spec- tators. portion, if any, of the newspaper reserved for legal notices and classified advertisements. The notice described in clauses (i) and (ii) shall be in the following form and contain the following information, in addition to such other information as the local governing body may elect to include: NOTICE OF PROPOSED REAL PROPERTY TAX INCREASE I. Assessment Increase: Total assessed value of real property, excluding additional assess- ments due to new construction or improvements to property, exceeds last year's total assess- ed value of real property by __ percent. 2. Lowered Rate Necessary to Offset Increased Assessment: The tax rate which would levy the same amount of real estate tax as last year, when multiplied by the new total assessed value of real estate with the exclusions mentioned above, would be $ per $100 of assessed value. This rate will be known as the "lowered tax rate." 3. Effective Rate Increase: The (name of the county, city or town) proposes to adopt a tax rate of $ per $100 of assess- ed value. The difference be- tween the lowered tax rate and the proposed rate would be $ per $100 or percent. Th-difference will-ffe-khown as the "effective tax rate increase." Individual property taxes may, however, increase at a per- centage greater than or less than the above percentage. 4. Proposed Total Budget Increase: Based on the proposed real .property tax rate and chan- ges m other revenues, the total budget of (name of county, city or town) will exceed last year's by __ percent. A public hearing on the increase will be held on (date and time) at (meeting place). C. All hearings shall be open to the public. The governing body shall permit persons desiring to be heard an opportunity to present oral testimony within such reasonable time limits as shall be determined by the governing body. D. The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to the assessment of public ser- vice corporation property by the -State Corporation Commission. E. Notwithstanding other provisions of general or special law, the tax rate for taxes due on or before June 30 of each year, may be fixed on or before April 15 of that tax year.. Adult Education Connection by Karen Gent Brenda Tankersley, of Leb- anon, Virginia, had dreamed of becoming a nurse since child- hood. Brenda remembers that as she was growing up, her parents stressed hard work more than they stressed education, In 1971, when she was a junior in high school, Brenda decided to drop out of school and get mar- ried. She had every intention of returning to complete her high school education, but became pregnant early in her marriage. Consequently, she did not re- turn to school. After becoming a mom, Brenda planned to earn her high school credential after her son started school. When that time came in 1977, Brenda, still interested in nursing, found out about a nurse's aide program offered at Southwest Virginia Community College. The pro- gram lasted only one quarter and did not require a high school credential for entrance; however, the instructors con- tinually encouraged Brenda to earn her GED certificate so that she could pursue an edu- cation in nursing. Brenda completed the program and worked as a nurse's aide until 1985. 1977 was an important year in Brenda Tankersley's life. Not only did she become a nurse's aide, but she fulfilled her goal of earning her high school credential. Brenda recalls that she saw an ad in the Lebanon News about GED Testing in Tazewell County. Brenda called up her sister, Rita Keen, and suggested that the two of them register to take the GED Tests. Even though they arrived ten minutes late for the testing ses- sion, the ladies were admixed to the center. Both sisters passed the complete battery of tests! Brenda says that earning her GED gave her a lot of self- confidence and the credential she needed to fulfill her dream. In September 1984, Brenda began an LPN (Licensed prac- tical Nurse) program at the Slater Center in Bristol, Ten- nessee. She graduated from the program in May 1985 and Brenda Tankersle3' passed her state licensure exam. Brenda then got a job at Russell County Medical Center (RCMC). While working at RCMC, Brenda enrolled in a registered nursing bridge program at Wal- ter State Community College in Morristown, Tennessee. She completed the program in eleven months and became a registered nurse. Brenda says that she had a Bluegrass music in Coebum Lays Hardware Center for the Arts located at 409 Front Street in downtown Coebum will feature Jam Sessions every Thursday night. From 6:30 until 10:30 musicians and spectators are welcome. Doors open at 6:00 and there is no charge for admission. Every Friday night there is live bluegrass music from 7:30 until 10:30 with doors opening at 6 pm. Admission is $5 for adults, $1 children 6-12 and under 6 admixed free. Friday, February 20: Appalachian Strings Friday, February 27: Bluegrass Circle Friday, March 6: South Mountain Boys. Lays Hardware Center for the Arts offers great entertainment in a smoke-free, alcohol-free family atmosphere. For more information contact Loretta Mays at 276-395-5160 or 276-395-3323. Presidents' Day Sal lot of family support while she was getting her education anff that her husband vas her biggest encourager. Brenda says that her husband, who did graduate from high school,; believes in the value of edu-. cation and wanted to succeed. In 1991, Brenda and her family moved to Daytona, Florida. There she worked as a. delivery nurse at Halifax Med- ical Center until 1997. Brendal mentions, as an interesting note, that she was a delivery nurse who attended the birth of the. late Jett Travolta, son of Johnl Travolta and Kelly Preston. In 1997, Brenda took al nursing management position at Putnam County Communityl Hospital. She worked there un- til moving back to Russell Cou-i nty in 2003. She then returned to Russell County Medical: Center, where she first began her nursing career. Brenda'. worked as a floor n de and eventually moved into a mana - gement position. She is cur- rently the manager of the; medical/surgical unit. Brenda has realized her; dream of becoming a registereff nurse. She comments, "Withoutl a GED certificate, I would havel never become more than a; nurse's aide." Brenda also proudly mentions that her son is now in an LPH program and will graduate in May. Earning a GED certificate can open doors of opportunity for you. If you didn't finish high school, contact Southwest Regional Adult Education at 889-5424, or call toll-flee at 1- 866-581-9935. 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