Friday, March 16, 2012

A Note to My Botetourt Readers

Dear Friends,

Yesterday one of the supervisors told me the county is contemplating $3 million in cuts to county services. He said that the impact will be felt in the libraries, parks & recreation, schools, and other areas.

I am guessing no category is being untouched. Though the proposed cuts have not yet been made public, I suspect this means fewer books, probably no summer reading program at the library for children, less mowing at the ball fields, fewer ball games, fewer referees, fewer adult education programs, and no replacements for police or other emergency service vehicles that are worn out. It may also mean fewer teachers, larger classroom sizes, and less materials for learning. It will be a large reduction in services, and you will notice.

But it is not too late.

Next week there should be a notice in the local paper about a public comment time for the budget. This event could be as soon as 10 days from now. We must act.

The supervisors need to hear from those who believe that county services matter. Too often the only voices raised at these meetings are the ones that have no vision and care little for the health and welfare of others. They are also the first to call for services and the first to cry if the services are not there. However, they do not want to pay for them.

I, for one, would like to see people who believe in basic services appear at the budget meetings. If you cannot attend this upcoming budget meeting, I hope you will write a letter or email to your supervisor, or pick up the phone and call him to express your opinion. I have done this and will continue to do this.

I hope that these services matter to you. If you use the libraries, if your children play sports, or if you have called the sheriff's department, you have benefited from county services. If you have called for an ambulance to transport a loved one or cried for help because your home was on fire, you have used county services.

If you have built a home, purchased land, used county water and/or sewer, shopped at Kroger or any other local business establishment (all of them use local water and sewer, which was initially paid for with your tax dollars), you have benefited from county services.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that county services affect you, the place you work or shop, or someone you love every day, whether you realize it or not. *See the bottom for a list of county services.*

I firmly believe that it is my duty as a citizen to pay taxes and participate in the process. I cannot complain unless I make an effort. Please join me in helping to keep Botetourt the wonderful community that it is.

Here is a list of your supervisors. Please contact them today and let them know that you use these services and they are important to you. Do not make them guess which services are important: tell them. It is the only way they can truly determine where the ax should best fall.

Amsterdam District

Stephen P. Clinton, Chairman
108 S. Braemar Circle
Daleville, Virginia 24083
Phone: (540) 992-3066
Fax: (540) 857-3531
term expires: 12/31/2013

Blue Ridge District

Billy W. Martin, Sr.
426 Mountain Pass Road
Blue Ridge, Virginia 24064
Phone: (540) 977-8085
Fax: (540) 977-1402
term expires: 12/31/2011

Buchanan District

Terry L. Austin, Vice Chairman
P.O. Box 398
Buchanan, Virginia 24066
Phone: (540) 254-1085
Fax: (540) 254-2729
term expires: 12/31/2013

Fincastle District

L. W. (Jack) Leffel
556 Leffel Lane
Eagle Rock, Virginia 24085
Phone: (540) 884-2417
term expires: 12/31/ 2015

Valley District

Dr. Donald M. (Mac) Scothorn
1025 Highland Drive
Roanoke, Virginia 24019
Phone: (540) 992-5589
term expires: 12/31/2015

Best regards,


County Services (all of these and more receive funds of some kind from the county, that is to say, your local tax dollars):

Clerk of the Circuit Court
Commissioner of the Revenue
Commonwealth's Attorney
Animal Control
County Treasurer
County Jail
Social Services
Building Services
Parks & Recreation
Planning & Zoning
Public Works (water & sewer)
Landfill/ trash transfer station
recycling centers
Electoral Board
Voter Registrar
County Paid Emergency Services
Volunteer Fire and Rescue


  1. An excellent and timely blog. It's worth pointing out, as well, that cuts to public services are bad for the private sector too. You've already pointed out that the infrastructure we all use was funded by our taxes - well, this will deteriorate if it is not maintained, and if people are not employed to maintain them that will mean more people out of work and less money feeding into the economy. The other cuts will have similar effects: not replacing police and fire vehicles, for instance, means that orders for these vehicles will not be placed and somewhere down the line, a private company will lose business, with all the associated consequences. Tax money finds its way back into the economy in all sorts of ways, and provides stimulus. Stimulus is just what a recovery needs.

  2. Ironically, I just listened to a podcast of This American Life yesterday on this very subject. The experience of the city of Colorado Springs was explored. Those politicians who have convinced people that Government is the problem and those who want to shrink government to the point where they "can drown it in a bathtub" (Grover Norquist) are creating permanent infrastructure deterioration. A lot of this is the result of partisan politics. I'm guessing we'll have to learn this the hard way before the majority of the public wakes up.

  3. super post...thank! i'm going to share this...needs to be seen!

  4. I am happy to pay taxes because I understand that's how we get needed services. But here's the problem. People don't have any money to pay more taxes. Literally. And I think one reason people don't want to pay one more penny in taxes, even if they have the money, is because of the waste. One example is the million dollar studies they do. For example, maybe they want to refurbish an old building and turn it into offices for town workers or a park and they spend a million dollars studying it! It's ridiculous. I could BUILD the whole friggin' thing for what they spend studying it. We don't trust them with our money anymore.

    1. I did not say anything here about paying more taxes. I said to let the supervisors know what services are used and wanted. If no one is using certain services, then the supervisors need to know that. If certain services are widely needed or wanted, they need to know that, too.

      However, I think there are ways to deal with taxes and with people who cannot pay that are not being utilized. Localities could institute benevolency programs that allow for payment on time, for example, and take a look at their late payment penalties. They could be more proactive in dealing with folks of varying income levels if they wanted to be. However, they have no imagination and can only see one way of doing things when every problem has many solutions.

      Just because some money is spent improperly doesn't mean it all is, and one segment of the services available should not suffer because another part is not handled well. All people on welfare are not lay-abouts who do not deserve some assistance, though certainly some are - but because some are, this society wants to punish everyone. That is wrong-headed. Government is not the problem. Lack of thinking about the problem is the problem.


I enjoy your comments and always appreciate the opportunity to visit the blogs of my readers. I hope you have a great day!