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Augusta Supervisors Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Tax Hike - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Augusta Supervisors Hold Public Hearing on Proposed Tax Hike

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Three-hundred-fifty people filled the board room - as 60 listened from down the hall - during the Augusta County Board of Supervisors public hearing on a proposed tax hike to benefit schools. Three-hundred-fifty people filled the board room - as 60 listened from down the hall - during the Augusta County Board of Supervisors public hearing on a proposed tax hike to benefit schools.

Augusta County supervisors held a joint public meeting to talk about next year's budget and a proposed tax increase.

The board encouraged people for weeks to come and speak Wednesday night - and that's just what people did.

The board room was filled with 350 people, and another 60 watched from down the hall. The hot topic: Augusta County Public Schools.

"Our county does have an excellent school system with dedicated and excellent, hardworking employees. However, they are doing more and more of everything with less of everything," said Nicki Hendrickson with the Valley Schools Coalition.

On the table is a five-cent real estate tax increase, raising the current 48 cents to 53. Some of the money would go to Augusta schools to update technology, provide full benefits to part-timers and give teachers a 4-percent raise.

But many spoke against the tax increase.

"I'm going to ask you tonight to approve a budget without raising taxes," said Bill Shirley, who has spent his career in the school system.

Supervisor Tracy Pyles says he supports education, but he thinks the school board could find a different approach.

"What's in surplus? Why not apply that to the needs that we have today instead of saving them for another time? They're saying ‘rainy day fund.' It's raining now," Pyles said.

Supervisor Marshall Patty has his own proposal.

"We credit the school system with the sell of Ladd Elementary and we use the capital savings account that schools have already," Patty said.

Patty says it will give schools $2 million for the next three years toward education.

Superintendent Chuck Bishop says that is only a temporary fix.

"That $6 million will be great, but what are we going to do at the end of the three-year period?" Bishop said.

Supervisors will vote on the budget and proposed tax increase either next Wednesday or at their May 1 meeting.

Reported by Tara Todd

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