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Augusta Supervisors Host Public Input Session on Budget - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta Supervisors Host Public Input Session on Budget

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Augusta County has the lowest real estate tax rate in the region, and one of the lowest in the state. Wednesday, Augusta supervisors will hear very different views on whether that's something to be proud of.

County supervisors will host a public input session at 7 p.m. to get some direction from citizens before they start serious work on their new budget. Spirited debate about taxes is expected.

Members of "Support Our Schools" have been trying to build consensus among teachers and community groups. They're asking supervisors to add another 10 cents to Augusta's real estate tax rate, which now stands at 48 cents. Organizers say a lack of revenue has forced public school teachers to go without raises for four years and has left emergency responders understaffed.

"What do we as Augusta County citizens want for our kids and our county? And it does lie on our shoulders to pay for it. Having an entire community and tax base means it's not on one person's shoulders or a small group's shoulders. It means it's on everybody's shoulders to make their entire community better," said Nicki Henrickson, member of "Support our Schools."

The Shenandoah Valley Tea Party has launched its own campaign in opposition. It says the "Support Our Schools" request would amount to a 21 percent tax hike that many property owners can't afford.

Both groups have mounted online petition drives, and will present them to Augusta County supervisors Wednesday night.

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