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We are writing you today in regards to an issue that is important to each and every one of us - our hard earned money and the misappropriation of these funds by our local government.
Having volunteered countless hours (like many of you) working for candidates to be elected to City Council last year, and helping them to get elected by historic margins, we felt that our locally elected officials would return our local government back to its rightful owners - the taxpaying citizens of Waynesboro. After garnering 60 plus % of the vote in last May's City Council election, a mandate was made to our locally elected officials - the tax paying citizens of Waynesboro demand more restraint over how their tax dollars are spent and they demand a much more efficiently run and productive city government.
Most of us still believe in the concept of "representative democracy" where we elect individuals to govern and make decisions that would be reflective of the taxpaying citizens who elected them. We thought that after the mandate in 2008 that we would finally have our "locally represented democracy" restored.
At Monday night's City Council meeting, the taxpaying citizens of Waynesboro were reminded how short some politicians' memories can be. After enduring another increase in real estate assessments, a tax increase was put forth this evening by Mayor Tim Williams (Ward A), Councilwoman Nancy Dowdy (Ward C), and Councilwoman Lorie Smith (Ward D). Prior to this evening's meeting, a lot of the logic behind this tax increase was due to the alleged sacrifice of services that the City of Waynesboro would otherwise have to endure. 2 years ago, taxes were raised by 23%. Did you see/feel your services increase by a rate of 23%? We didn't either.
In 2009 our water rates have increased 35.2%, sewer rates have increased by 13.7%, and garbage rates have increased by 16%.. Our Dominion Power bills have increased. Gas prices have escalated to over $2 a gallon again. And now a majority of our City Council wants to raise taxes, and raise taxes on individuals and businesses while Waynesboro is enduring the highest rate of unemployment in years - 11.1%. Even our Governor, Tim Kaine has demanded that the budget be reigned in given the current economic climate.
Currently, Waynesboro ranks in the top 20th percentile of independent cities within the Commonwealth of Virginia for the highest rate of unemployment, and a majority of our City Council wants to raise taxes. Does this make sense? Is this the responsible, efficient, and productive government that we, as taxpaying citizens of Waynesboro, mandated during last year's City Council elections?
It was voiced to us loud and clear this evening that a majority of our City Council have forgotten the true desire of the citizens that they represent. We need to remind them who they represent, and as our representatives, what we expect from them in terms of fiscal restraint and wise management of our city government.
We created the Waynesboro Taxpayers Alliance to serve as an advocate for the taxpayers in Waynesboro. We are a non-partisan group whose mission is to challenge attempts to raise personal and commercial property taxes, as well as monitor real estate assessments. We have made a committment to help improve the lives of each Waynesboro citizen. We are committed to helping our local government identify budget cuts, educate the citizens on the budget and assessment processes, as well as meet with other legislators and attend/host hearings and town hall meetings.
What Can I Do to Help?
We need to contact our City Councilors who currently support the raising of our taxes, especially during this time of economic uncertaintly. Please contact these officials and let them know that you DO NOT support any raising of taxes at this time.
Mayor Tim Williams
(540) 942-3471 Home
(540) 649-0876 Cell
Councilwoman Nancy Dowdy
Councilwoman Lorie Smith
We would appreciate your continued involvement and support and together, we look forward to restoring the power of our local government back to its rightful owners - YOU!
Mike Harris and Garnett WeatherholtzWaynesboro Taxpayers Alliance
6th District Candidates
2 years ago