EDITORIAL: The Worst Tax

June 28, 2013

Last night as this was being written, Cape Charles Town Council was approving the new budget, including new water/sewer rates.

Even though reassessed property values dropped 35 percent on average, Town Council still felt it was OK to increase our tax bills.

At the County level, elected officials didn’t see it that way, and voted a slight tax decrease. But rather than following suit, our Town officials viewed the County tax decrease as justification for raising Town taxes. After all, they told us, your combined County/Town tax bills are likely to be less than last year’s.

Yes, and with property values down 35 percent, they certainly should be!

The new budget is further evidence that Town Council doesn’t control Town staff – quite the reverse. During the budget planning process, Council instructed staff to produce an “equalized” budget – one that would not require a tax increase.

But Town staff disobeyed orders – as if they had been asked to perform the impossible. And Town Council, like an indulgent parent, gave in. [Read more…]