Augusta County leaders raise personal property taxes in split vote

Updated: Apr. 28, 2021 at 10:53 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - In a split decision Wednesday night, the Augusta County Board of Supervisors voted to raise personal property taxes. It will help fund firefighters and employee raises as part of Wednesday night’s budget approval.

But, Supervisors also shared sentiments at different points about the sudden and tragic death of fellow Supervisor Dr. Scott Seaton’s wife, Anne.

Anne Seaton was killed in a Waynesboro car accident on April 23, allegedly by a man fleeing the scene of another accident, but Dr. Seaton still called in to vote.

Supervisor Jeff Slaven recognized Seaton for participating in the meeting despite his family’s tragedy. “He could have easily bowed out of that, and he didn’t so the people in Wayne need to remember that they were represented here,” said Slaven.

The first vote was personal property taxes. Pam Carter made a motion to keep the rate at $2.50 per $100 assessed value with support from Seaton, and Mike Shull, who says now is not the time to raise taxes, especially with the anticipation of $14 million coming to Augusta County from the American Rescue Plan.

“We’re just coming out of pandemic. Everybody’s having difficult times and things,” stated Shull. “And with this money, it was set aside from the government to bridge the gap with the budget shortfalls.”

Butch Wells says it scares him that Augusta County staff has $9 million in budget requests they can’t fund.

“We have a very frugal, conservative staff. They’re not wasteful at all,” said Wells. “And when our staff tells us those types of things are needed, and we can’t even come close to funding those, as I said that scares me.”

Wells and the remaining Supervisors supported the $0.10 personal property tax increase, which will pay for 15 new firefighters and a 3% raise for Augusta County employees.

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