Cumberland Will Lower Tax Rate

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, March 31, 2011

Editor, The Herald:

As the Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors, I wanted to take this opportunity to address the article that appeared in the Farmville Herald where the question of a possible tax increase was raised. First of all, the Board of Supervisors will NOT propose a tax increase for 2011-12 for Cumberland County citizens.

As citizens in Cumberland, the Board recognizes that tax burdens are on the minds of our neighbors. As a Board, we strive to provide the best value we can in terms of service and are keenly aware that it is not our money but the citizens'; we are only caretakers of these precious funds.

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In terms of service improvement last year, the Board funded the Sheriff's office to provide 24 hours per day, 7 days per week law enforcement coverage in the County for the first time in the County's history. We have an award-winning school system operating from a new middle and high school complex of which students, parents and all citizens alike can be proud. The County has broken ground on a new business park in the Courthouse area to attract new businesses to the area, and the new community center at the former L.P. Jackson school houses the community college, Social Services, Clothes Closet, and Bear Creek Academy – each which create and support our community in these difficult economic times – for job re-training and educational opportunities. A water-line extension project is continuing to be developed for yet additional economic development opportunities and to attract business investment.

While one may review these improvements and be concerned about county expenditures, the county actually reduced its local operating costs in all budget areas from the prior year. There have been staff reductions at the county offices as well as at the schools, pay reductions, and hiring freezes at the county – a far cry from what is happening in other locales.

To have increased services during these economic times is a huge accomplishment for the Board considering the fact that over the last few years our tax rate has NOT kept up with the rate of inflation. This speaks to the determination and dedication of the Board of Supervisors and County staff to make the best possible use of taxpayer dollars, while providing even more services with less revenue.

To answer the question you have about your tax rate for next year, the answer is that your tax rate WILL NOT increase, in fact it WILL DECREASE. The Board just held final work sessions on the budget and will propose a two cents per $100 value DECREASE in your real estate taxes.

The public hearing on the County budget will be held April 5, 2011 at 7pm in the Circuit Courtroom of the Courthouse.

Van Petty

Board of Supervisors Chairman

Cumberland County