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BY ROBIN KNEPPER
Orange County supervisors made short work of approving the county budget and tax rate this week, but took no action on proposed changes to the zoning and subdivision ordinances.
County property owners and owners of mobile homes will be paying 72 cents per $100 of the assessed value of their property this year, an increase of 4 cents over the equalized rate of 68 cents.
Real-estate taxes for the first half of the year will be due on June 5.
Last year's mass reassessment of county real estate showed an overall 28 percent decrease in values, a change that would reduce revenue by $6.5 million at last year's rate of 49 cents per $100 of assessed value.
Expensive homes and estates rose in value and will bring higher taxes; owners of lower-value property are likely to see little change in their tax bills.
Personal-property taxes for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will be $3.75 per $100 of valuation, up 48 cents from the current fiscal year.
Privately owned motor homes and other recreational vehicles will be taxed $2.62 per $100 of of assessed value.
All other taxes remain the same.
Although all five supervisors voted to approve the county's Capital Improvements Plan, District 1 Supervisor Shannon Abbs voted against the budget and the tax rate.
During budget work sessions, she had failed to convince fellow supervisors to lower their advertised tax rate of 73 cents to 71 cents. She proposed saving money by not funding the position of assistant to the county administrator, cutting contributions to outside agencies and decreasing pay increases to county and school employees.
She did not further explain her opposition at the time of the vote Tuesday night.
The approved $54 million general-fund budget will give county and school employees a 3.5 percent merit/cost-of-living pay increase, add a new position for the Barboursville Fire/EMS Department and cover the state's mandate for the Virginia Retirement System.
The evening's two combined public hearings on two supervisor-proposed alternative changes to the subdivision and zoning ordinances duplicated the public hearing before the Planning Commission last month. The commission refused unanimously to recommend approval of either proposal.
No speakers at the board's hearing Tuesday supported either suggested change to the present ordinances, even though they thought them flawed and contrary to property rights. A few people went so far as to support keeping the present ordinances but suggested changes that would make them more restrictive.
Supervisors had no plan to vote on the ordinance changes. When the 45-minute public hearing ended, Chairman Teel Goodwin said: "We're not there yet. We'll try to come up with something that works a lot better."
Robin Knepper: 540/972-5701