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Albemarle County Landowners Air Grievances Over Proposed Rain Tax

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Albemarle landowners are speaking out against a proposed tax Albemarle landowners are speaking out against a proposed tax
The tax would affect everyone, not just farm owners The tax would affect everyone, not just farm owners
Crowds of people attended the meeting on April 5 Crowds of people attended the meeting on April 5
The tax would collect money for a water resource program The tax would collect money for a water resource program
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

One Albemarle County supervisor says people in rural areas aren’t going to have to worry about a proposed rain tax because she's not voting for it.

However, people across the county still aren't happy about this proposed fee on storm water since it could still go into effect.

The idea is to use funds collected from the tax to create a water resource program. Supervisors believe this could be a solution to ensuring cleaner water in the area, but many landowners say the system is fine the way it is now.

“Everyone out here works hard,” says Paula Beazley, who lives in Esmont. “They're struggling.”

Landowners in Albemarle County are not responding well to a recent proposal to tax storm water.

“Take a look around what we have to offer, and, you know, it's worth fighting for," says Kathy Rash, who owns property in Scottsville and Whitehall.

Rash and others in the county are rallying against the fee. The tax is meant to allocate money for a water resources program to regulate more water systems. However, Rash argues that it's unnecessary.

“We've been doing this for years,” says Rash. “And so our cattle are fenced off so they're nowhere near the streams or anything that we have on our property.”

Many of the people who came out to the town hall meeting on Thursday, April 5, own farms, but this tax is based on the amount of a property's impervious area which can include a lot of other land besides farms.

“It will affect every homeowner and landowner in the county, not just the rural district,” says Rash. “The urbanites will also be taxed, or they will receive a fee."

Inside the packed town hall meeting, Albemarle County Supervisor Liz Palmer announced that she would not support the rain tax.

But that announcement only kept people happy for a moment. Palmer had many back-and-forth encounters with people in the crowd after she explained the proposal isn't completely off the table.

Palmer adds that she wants to hear all the information first, before making a final decision.

On the other hand, many people living in the county just want this new tax to be put to rest and keep things the way they are now.

“We can still do this,” says Beazley. “We can keep doing it. And we'll do it well. Just leave it where it is."

Landowners currently pay a tax on storm water, but it comes from a general fund. Many in the audience Thursday night would like it to remain that way.

This has been an ongoing discussion since fall of 2013. The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors are expected to take up this issue at its meeting on Wednesday, April 11.