The BOS is now meeting to discuss the FY10 budget. Today is the day they vote to advertise the rate. They can always lower the rate in April but they cannot raise it. That is what has people all in a dither.

Please contribute if you are watching on channel 23 comcast or channel 37 FIOS or if you are beaming in the meeting some other way.

To start us off, we were told that rather than being compared to Alexandria or Fairfax as far as tax assessments/services, we would be more like Stafford County.

43 Thoughts to “The BOS Meeting 3/3/09: Open Thread”

  1. “They can always lower the rate in April but they cannot lower it.”

    Do you mean they cannot RAISE it in April?

  2. Moon-howler

    I will answer first. Stafford County? Give me a break! Years ago I could have saved myself a fortune by buying a home in Stafford. I could have commuted. Thing is, I didn’t WANT to live in Stafford. I wanted to live in a more up and coming area.

    Too bad I can’t go back to the future and save myself a lot of bucks. It looks like I ended up in ‘Stafford’ anyway.

  3. Moon-howler

    @Posting As Pinko
    Correct. Whatever rate is set today, can be lowered but not raised, regardless of what happens.

    Chris Martino, director of finance, is explaining that they have had a very difficult time getting all the information they need, as we speak.

  4. silver fox

    Not a soul spoke at Citizens’ Time that supported the Chairman’s proposed advertised rate. One lady said she was a republican and supported a higher advertised tax rate.

    I will be fair an give the Chairman credit for asking Dana Fenton to pass thanks along to the VA GA, and specifically Senator Colgan. I’m sure there will be some that won’t be too pleased with that one.

  5. ShellyB

    I think the Chairman thought he was in a 2007 time warp with this “everybody send the board an email and I’ll bully my way to political points.” Everyone is just over that, even the most loyal Gospel Greg followers didn’t show up to be angry on command.

  6. Moon-howler

    The Chairman is saying that apartments are full. There are vacancies over on this end. In fact, several of the better apartments like Ravenscrest were having incentives for people to move in or resign leases.

  7. I think that email might have made people aware who might NOT have been aware of the plans…so they showed up to complain. The email back-fired.

  8. anona

    If I heard the finance guy right, the predicted value drop is 32% which would explain the 1.21 number. With a 32% drop, 1.21 would produce about the same amount of revenue coming in as a 1.19 rate with a 30% drop. So it looks like 1.21 is the new 1.19??

    I’m guessing even the four 1.19 supervisors will now adjust up to at least 1.21 because doing so doesn’t cost the taxpayers anymore and produces the same revenue to meet the proposed cuts. Although it will cost businesses more. Very sad to hear Supervisor Caddigan’s claim that some businesses in her area have seen their rates go up 54%!

    It sounds like we won’t turn about until 2012? Very depressing.

  9. anona

    Ok, now I am really confused. Is Supervisor Nohe actually arguing for a LOWER rate? Whoa! I never saw that coming. This is wild TV, better than Animal Planet.

  10. silver fox

    Who’s going to “tame these tigers”?

  11. Moon-howler

    Animal planet! hahahaha! Very funny!

    It looks like no decisions will be made today. Chairman Stewart lost much respect with me for laughing in John Jenkins face about his motion to set the rate @$1.28.

    They will revisit this issue at the BOS Meeting March 17. What a horrible way to ruin St. Patrick’s Day.

    Mike May was heavily into that great baseball philosopher, Yogi Berra.

  12. Opinion

    As Yogi Berra said, “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

  13. Moon-howler

    When are these guys going to take a break?

  14. ShellyB

    I think I understand why it’s so hard to dislike Corey Stewart, even for those who disagree with him strongly.

    He is an adorable and earnest fraud.

  15. GainesvilleResident

    I got an e-mail from Supervisor Nohe which I had to read a couple of times but it is indeed against even the $1.19 rate. It says that rate is too high for businesses. It doesn’t recommend a rate but definitely suggests he is advocating a lower rate than $1.19.

  16. Same old same old. The BOCS will do whatever THEY want no matter how many RESIDENTS speak at Citizens time, write letters or call.

  17. ShellyB

    Yes, that goes back to the thing that makes me mad the most. Our business tax and our residential property tax are linked together I guess by state law. Marty is Mr. Pro-Business. He warned us when the immigration thing first came up that it would hurt our economy. He is PWC born and raised, and I trust where his heart is coming from. We can’t afford any more damage to our economy, because folks will just go to surrounding counties that did not have immigration wars, and don’t raise taxes on business. So where does that leave us? Cutting back on everything?

  18. ShellyB

    Pinko, I was responding to Gainesville Resident. I know how you feel. There seems to be a disconnect between we the people and the people on the Board. But this happens at all levels of government.

  19. Yes, Shelly, we seemed to have crossed posts 🙂

    A disconnect makes more sense to me at the federal level. But at the local level, it is just surreal.

  20. ShellyB

    I know, that’s why we have to elect people we can trust. The problem is that our adorable fraud of a Chairman has lost our trust, so when he does his email blast we just assume it’s some kind of campaign ploy, and probably against the best interests of the county.

  21. 40 yrs in Woodbridge

    So in these economic times Chairman Stewart wants to allow the car dealers on Route 1 to have banners and streamers and balloons….albeit just on the weekends… the businesses might be able to attract new customers…..why not the rest of the County, why not in Lake Ridge, Manassas, Dumfries and Dale City. Why trash up just Route 1? If they are going to do it do it to the ENTIRE COUNTY!!!! He is presenting a resolution next week. Supervisor Covington already said he didn’t want that on 28 and Supervisor Principi said this is coming in a time when he is trying to clean up that area of Rt. 1 and it needs to be fair and balanced across the entire County.

    Heck in these ecomomic times I like not to have to follow the rules either but I don’t see Stewart waiving the magic wand to give the rest of us a break….

  22. Conservador

    The county supervisors are bragging and taking responsibility 100 % for the immigration bill. They did not put attention to any other factors that would affect many people in the county, especially the elderly and the young people. I have a business in PWC and I said before that I can move my company away from here if the taxes that are going to be raised are too much. They’re not doing anything to attract people or business back into the county. The responsibility of our future will rest in the county leaders who did not work for the best interest of the people of PWC.

  23. ShellyB

    Yes, Conservador. We are between a rock and a hard place in PWC, with the immigration war being so bad for business, it would make matters worse if we also raised taxes to cover some of the havoc our past mistakes have caused in the housing market (I include both over-development and the Immigration Resolution here).

    But I don’t agree that everyone on the Board is bragging. I think most on the Board are ashamed about what happened in 2007, just like the majority of citizens here.

  24. Conservador

    ShellyB, I know and we will remember the next election day.

  25. Alanna

    I got distracted and didn’t tune in until 7:45 or so. They were already on the Habitat for Humanity agenda item. Does someone know if anybody showed up as requested by Chairman Stewart?

  26. Chris

    I missed the start too. I did see Gregg Reynolds close out Citizens’Time.
    He most certainly didn’t favor Corey’s rate.

  27. ShellyB

    Nope. No one responded to Corey Stewart’s historic “Call To Lobby The Lady Sitting Next To Me.”

  28. Moon-howler

    A little bird told me that Fairfax is worse off than PWC. Seems hard to imagine. On the other hand, we were compared to Stafford. We no longer are the step-sister of Fairfax, we are kissing cousins to Stafford. Shudder.

  29. Alanna

    Chairman Stewart claims PWC is better off than other counties. The way it’s been explained to me is that other counties are laying off this current fiscal year while we won’t have to until after July 1st. I guess that’s the better part. ??

  30. So they put off the decision so they can tawk amongst themselves.

    I’ll give them a topic.

    World Class is neither World nor Class. Discuss.

  31. Moon-howler

    They have restrictions about that talk amongst yourself stuff. Does anyone know the rules? I just know that there are rules, not what the rules say.

  32. Opinion


    6. Open Meetings – All Board meetings shall be open to the public, provided that the Board may meet in closed session for those purposes authorized by the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. No meeting shall become a closed meeting unless there shall have been recorded in open session an affirmative vote to that effect, which motion shall state specifically the purpose or purposes of the closed meeting. No resolution, ordinance, rule, contract, regulation or motion adopted, passed or agreed to in a closed meeting shall become effective unless the Board, following such meeting, reconvenes in open meeting and takes a vote on such resolution, ordinance, rule, contract, regulation or motion.

  33. Opinion

    The discussion on whether we should strive to be like Fairfax or like Stafford was most interesting. It would appear that the County has an identity crisis. The numbers indicate that Corey Stewart’s proposed tax rate would drive us to the Stafford model while Jenkins proposal would drive us to the Fairfax model (in terms of County services available to its citizens). Which is preferable is an interesting point of debate.

    I think it’s an academic question. We have established a level of services that Prince William County citizens appear to support. (IMHO) we should strive to maintain the current level of services while looking for ways to deliver those services more efficiently to reduce costs.

    An occasional budget scrub is a good thing. Using it as an excuse to deny services to the County’s most vulnerable (who are often excluded from the debate) is morally reprehensible.

    The interesting thing is that while many citizens spoke during citizens time, not one person supported the Stewart tax proposal. In fact, many started with the line, “I’m willing to pay more taxes”. I was struck by the fact that so few of the Board members considered these remarks in their subsequent advertised tax rate “non-decision.”

  34. Moon-howler

    I found that rather amazing also, Opinion. Very few who spoke had special pet project either, it seemes. Most people just want to maintain their level of services.

    What the board needs to consider is that we can go live outside of NoVA for a lot less money and receive much better services. If we stay here, we get to pay the same amount of money and receive a lot fewer services.

    I was very disappointed that Chairman Stewart chose to laugh like a hyena for what was longer than necessary when Supervisor Jenkins proposed his 1.28 advertise rate. Mr. Jenkins was NOT laughing.

  35. ShellyB

    Most people on this blog would not want to leave Prince William County, M-H, but I know what you are saying here. County government is different than federal. If anyone was ever going to give up on America, they probably did it during the Bush years. But almost no one is willing to do that.

    Switching counties is another matter. So when the government goes awry, when the property values plummet compared to surrounding counties, when schools and government services erode to the level of middle-of-nowhere counties, you would think a lot of people would just pick up and move to a county that has stronger leadership and therefore a brighter future.

    I think this is why many of us are so mad at Corey Stewart, John Stirrup, and Greg Letiecq. They are not from Prince William County. They JUST MOVED HERE, and they decided to turn everything into an episode of Bill O’Rielly or Lou Dobbs for no good reason. They are destroying this county that we love, and causing good people to leave.

    It would take a lot for me to leave. But if no one wants to live here other than renters, and no one buys home here other than speculators (the current trend), I don’t see us pulling out of this downward spiral. Where will it eventually lead us?

  36. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    So I missed the meeting…did they set a rate?

  37. Alanna

    Nope. This could get interesting. Nohe wants to go lower. Jenkins & presumably Principi want the higher rate which is still a supposed ‘savings’. That is if you’ve lost $112,500 in home value then you’ll save a little something in your real estate tax.

  38. michael

    It seems sad to me that no-one who is arguing over budget issues even understands how we got into a situation where the value of homes has dropped and thus tax revenues have dropped (across the country, not just in PWC as some of you myopically believe) and do not understand how and why we need to fix the ROOT problem, instead of use temporary bandaids.
    The federal tax revenue problem is ALSO quibbling about the same issues, and the federal tax revenue problem and DEFICIT was caused by the same ROOT problem, as was the GLOBAL credit crisis, current lack of capitalization, and decline of the securities markets. ALL these crisis issies point back to the SAME ROOT problem. There has been a 25 year illegal activity and lack of ETHICs allowing “illegal” immigrants to overpopulate the US (some 40 million people since 1980)to our financial detriment, and has caused an over-population growth, and explosion in social entitlement services, a reduction in median family income level, an increase in tax fraud, banking fraud and business fraud, and a significant focus on “illegal” alien assistance and social services burden placed on the local county and state revenues. IF we had enforced the law and only allowed the “legal” number of immigrants to come into the US, we would NEVER have had the corruption in the mortgage lending market that we did, never have had the HUD 8A policies to lend to “illegal” and formerly “illegal” familes to purchase homes they could not afford, and NEVER have had the false income reporting, fraudulent loan documentation, preferential treatment by mortgage brokers to target specific “ethnicities” for federal housing benefits (HUD 8A policy and benefits improvement acts of 2008), and NEVER have had the number of under-reported income families living so close on the edge that the real loan to income value ratios were 50-60% instead of the 30% they would have been without fraud, and NEVER have had the number of mortgage securities supposedly rated as AAA investment portfolios, that were “illegal” and actually un-ratable, and NEVER would have had “illegals” and formerly “illegal” families making up the BULK of home loan defaults that CAUSED the securities market collapse last September, caused a significant number of financial institutions to Fail in October and in January to be unable to report sufficient capital on their balance sheets, because they were over-leveraged on HIGH-RISK home loans made to HIGH-RISK families.

    Here is how you FIX it…

  39. michael

    You focus on Ethics and accountability, and OVERSIGHT to ensure the LAW is followed. That is the SAME FIX for the current FEDERAL budget crisis that will lead to 1.3 TRILLION in debt over the next 2 years.
    20 years of ignoring oversight, ignoring law and ignoring financial ETHICs has created the budget crisis we face now. NOW WE HAVE TO PAY for this ignorance, until the economy recovers from a crisis STARTED by 12 million currently “illegal” and 30 million formerly “illegal” alien families who changed the financial path of our nation over a 30 year period, until we DEFAULTED, went into DEBT and failed to have sufficient capital RESERVES in every family.

    WE MUST RAISE TAXES, JUST TO PRESERVE JOBS. If we lose our jobs, even though we have all lost 50% of our existing capital, we will lose EVERYTHING. So TAXING our way out of it is the only solution, until, CAPITAL SAVINGS (that means each of you saves some money for a crisis, rather than live paycheck to paycheck), and we infuse INNOVATION funding into our small businesses, to start NON-DEPORTABLE jobs (to compete with foreigners who will export and import our existing industry jobs). The tax incentive and the federal incentive money MUST go into small business in the energy market (non-exportable), health industry (non-exportable) and educational industry (non-exportable) and infrastructure industry (IT and IT Services), just like the federal budget. We must pay for this with current tax dollars, until the upper 1% of the elite, can be TAXED to reduce the federal DEFICIT to 500 Billion, and we can see slow and steady NEW Business capital growth. To SUSTAIN IT WE must ensure NEW ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS and existing ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS do not economically UNDERMINE RECOVERY BY PUTTING ADDITIONAL SERVICES DEMAND ON THE BUDGETS AND UNDER-CUTTING LABOR AND JOB PRESERVATION ACTIONS necessary to dig us out of this hole that “illegal” immigration put us into in the first place.

    If you don’t understand this, you are wishing for a miracle in the federal bailout that will not be SUSTAINABLE and will COLLAPSE after floundering over a 2 year period and over 4-8 MILLION jobs per year will be lost in a population of 306 million in 5 years. When 20-40 million people are out of work (and 12 million are NOT DEPORTED to reduce the worker compensation financial costs) you have a DEPRESSION that lasts for 10 YEARS.

  40. michael

    We will continue to pay for this mistake with our tax dollars (county, state and federal), with TAX increases, UNTIL the ROOT problem of “illegal” immigration is solved, because if not, it will continue to undermine our recovery efforts caused by 12 million people who CANNOT INCREASE OUR GDP/GNP, or our exports!

  41. ShellyB

    Alanna, there are six R’s and only 2 D’s on the Board. So it stands to reason that either Nohe or Stewart’s proposal will be adopted, doesn’t it?

  42. Opinion

    It’s interesting… the D’s would like to hear from the community, the R’s think they know what’s best for us. I would say that the R’s are following the George Bush model of Governance believing that they know what’s best for the County (much more efficient, no time lost in listening to Residents). So… how did that work out for the Country? Unfortunately, they have missed the Republican trend of bipartisanship (as evidenced by Virginia gubernatorial Candidate Bob McDonnell’s change in tone to reflect a new message from the Republican Party).

    So, what to do? Continue to support Supervisor Jenkins as the voice of reason and experience and lobby for an Advertised tax rate that allows some flexibility and room for citizen input. I’m amazed that after complimenting County Executive Gerhart and his staff’s hard work on the budget, the R’s ignored his sound advice on proposing a slightly higher tax rate to allow for changes in the economy, County staff was complimented on their expertise at projecting trends and numbers; however, they were ignored regarding the most important decision the BOCS will make this year. It would probably behoove us to take a page from HSM’s playbook and show up in mass to demonstrate our displeasure with the way things are going. If not enough people care, I concede my position to the Democratic process.

    PWC resident’s are not “stupid” and recognize when we are pawns in making a very partisan political point. Unfortunately, we will have to wait three years to make our point. We may; however, plan ahead a bit. Those “affordable” houses are being purchased, in many cases, by people who need the services that are being cut. I’m betting this new constituancy is heavily Democratic. We need to ensure they understand how we got “here” (projecting ahead a year or two) and get them to the polls.

  43. TonyB

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