Well the budget is done, the tax rate set, and we carry on with the business of our wonderful county. I have gotten a few calls, but not many, having to do with the budget and tax rate decision of the Board of Supervisors. Some wanted more of the tax increase to go to schools or some other facet of local government, while others didn’t want an increase at all. I understand all of these sentiments. The sentiment I would like to put across to folks is balance.
Augusta County’s success can be attributed in large part to balance, the needs of the people with a low tax rate. As I said in a previous post, Augusta County has needs. They include Fire & Rescue, the Sheriff’s Department, and our County Schools. Our needs also include the continuation of our Capital Accounts. All of these items combine to make Augusta County work and successful, along with a low tax rate.
I wanted to touch on the Capital Accounts, or reserve account, rainy day fund, etc. These names all mean the same category of accounts. Augusta County has the Capital Accounts in order to plan ahead for large expenses so that the county doesn’t constantly need to get a loan for the next item or project that comes along. Currently, Augusta County debt ratio is about $1,000/citizen. That is amazingly low compared to all localities, both city and county, across the Commonwealth. It shows how Augusta County if very frugal with its taxpayers’ money. The Capital Accounts also assist the county if an unforeseen cost comes that needs to be covered. Having that money on hand can significantly decrease the amount of time it may take to get an urgent item or project completed, and most times this ability saves us money as well.
Augusta County’s real estate tax rate is now 0.56 cents for every $100 of value in your home, if you own your own home. It is important to point out that Augusta County’s real estate tax rate is right at the average for the Commonwealth with 51 percent of the 95 counties in the Commonwealth having a higher rate. It is also important to point out that Rockingham County, of which we are frequently compared, is 0.64 cents for every $100 of value in a home. For a house that is worth $150,000, that is a difference of $120/year between the two counties.
To wrap up, while I believe in low taxes, I also believe in the principle of good responsible government. We have a wonderful county and we must continue to invest in it to keep it as beautiful and successful as it is.
As always if you have any questions or wish to sit with me personally and go over anything having to do with the budget, please feel free to call me (540) 255-2883 or email me at DavidKaraffa@comcast.net and we can set up a time to sit and talk.