NEW: Large Crowd Gathers For Shenandoah County Budget Hearing
WOODSTOCK -- About 70 people spoke during a public hearing on a proposed tax rate increase in the next fiscal budget on Tuesday night, with most telling the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors they support paying more taxes.
The potential tax rate hike of 5.5 cents would bring the total rate to 59.5 cents per $100 of real estate value. The money would fund the school division's requests, including an increase in pay for teachers and staff.
Many of the speakers were school employees who stood to benefit from the tax rate hike, although some people who don't work for the school system but have children in the schools also supported the tax increase.
Several other people said while they support paying teachers higher salaries, they don't want to pay higher taxes. Some suggested the Board of Supervisors should open up the budget and make cuts in order find money to give the school system more funding.
The public hearing, which lasted more than 3 1/2 hours, was held at W.W. Robinson Elementary School in Woodstock. David Ferguson, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said the tax rate and budget will be considered during a meeting on April 22.
The Board of Supervisors may decide to pass a tax increase smaller than the advertised 5.5 cents, but it legally may not pass an increase higher than that amount without holding another public hearing. The new fiscal year starts July 1.