Botetourt Co. proposes 13-percent increase on real estate taxes

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BOTETOURT CO. (WSLS 10) -  People in Botetourt County may have to fork out more money for taxes.

The Board of Supervisors is discussing whether to raise taxes for the first time in three years to meet budget needs for schools and emergency services.

The knee-jerk reaction from residents isn't good.

"They're struggling enough right now," said resident Mary Virginia Broughton. "Botetourt County is perfect, don't mess with it."

Larry Sharpe has lived in Botetourt for 24 years with his wife. He says the price of living is high enough.

"I think it's unfair," Sharpe said. "It's really not appropriate at this time with the economy the way it is."

Under a proposed plan from the board of supervisors, personal property taxes would increase 5-percent. Real estate taxes would increase 13-percent.

That means if you have a home worth $150,000, your taxes would increase $135 from last year.

That breaks down to 9-cent increase. The rate would go from 72-cents to 81-cents per $100 dollars of assessed value. A new real-estate assessment was recently completed this year.

While it's a tough pill for residents to swallow, Botetourt County Board of Supervisors member Todd Dodson says it isn't an easy choice to make, but one that may be forced.

"Over the last three or four years, the county has had to dip into our savings to balance our budgets," Dodson said.

Taxes haven't increased in the past three years. Teacher raises haven't happened for even longer. The school has requested an extra $1.5 million to make those pay raises happen.  In total the school requested $51.5 million.

Dodson says another priority for the county is to add additional ambulance crews to be able to finally provide emergency medical coverage for the entire county. That would cost an extra $350,000.

"The coverage we have now isn't good," Dodgson said. We need 24/7 emergency services for the entire county."

While a tax increase isn't a done deal yet, Dodson says the money has to come from somewhere. He says the board will assure that every cent will be spent carefully.

"If the tax increase does come, it's for a good reason," Dodson said.  "It's for the benefit of Botetourt County and it's something that hopefully in the future will show that we are moving in the right direction."

To view the budget, click here.

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