Setting Tax Rate In Highland Will Have To Wait A Bit Longer
Monterey, VA – Highland County’s Board of Supervisors will have to jump right into the budget process very soon due to the county-wide property reassessment that will take several more weeks to be completed. Wingate Appraisal Services is currently finishing up in Craig County and will then come back to Highland County to complete its reassessment. The tax rate for this year cannot be set until the reassessment process is done. County Administrator Roberta Lambert explains the timeline to the Board.
“This year will be a little more difficult year because we will be going through a reassessment and we will be getting those figures later on this winter and then the tax rate will have to be adjusted,” she says, “so that we do not generate more than 101% of the taxes that we had before unless the board chooses to change that tax rate. There are two public hearings required during a reassessment year; they can be held the same night. So this year will be a little bit tighter as far as time frame is concerned to accomplish all that my May 1st.”
Hearings and appeals in response to the new assessments will also have to be completed before the tax rate can be set.
“Then Wingate Appraisal Services will have to hold hearings for anyone who wishes to come in and ask questions,” she says. “And once that’s completed, then this board will have to appoint an equalization board, which you need to start thinking about that also. That will be a three member board of individuals that will hear the second round of appeals on the assessments.”
The assessment completion date was originally December 31, but Wingate asked for a three month extension from the judge and that was granted.
In other business, Zoning Administrator Jim Whitelaw made a report to the Board on new storm water regulations that have been approved by the state.
“Forty thousand regulations came into effect in this country yesterday, but the state has adopted storm water regulations that come into effect July the 1st, 2014,” says Whitelaw. “Every county east of Richmond is required to have a program; we on the west side have an option either to do it ourselves or let DCR do it. And they said we have to let them know by spring.”
According to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation website, localities must notify DCR by March, 2012 if they wish to adopt a local stormwater management program. Allowing the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation run a locality’s program could cause delays in getting construction permits approved.
“And if you let DCR run it,” says Whitelaw, “if you send the plan over them and it takes them 60 days to turn it around, if they disapprove it, you got to fix it and then it’s going to take another 60 days to turn it around.”
Virginia Department of Transportation Regional Administrator Susan Hammond from Lexington told the Board that the McDowell bridge construction project is on schedule and they expect to have the bridge open to two-way traffic for Maple Festival in March as planned.
The next meeting of the Highland County Board of Supervisors will be a work session in McDowell, Wednesday, January 18 at 7:30 PM in the Stonewall Ruritan Building.