In January 2020, the latest of Gloucester’s real estate reassessments became effective. The overall value of Gloucester real estate changed from $4,391,807,486.00 to $4,659,865,396.00, resulting in an increase of $268,057,910.00 in overall value. At the current tax rate with the new assessment, the County gets an increase in real estate tax revenue (Money going into the County’s coffers) of approximately $2 Million. Shortly after this reassessment, the County and Board of Supervisors began budget deliberation for the FY 2021 budget, which covers the period of July 1, 2020 thru June 30, 2021. The County built this budget based on the increase in overall real estate tax revenue even though they did not hold a Public Hearing or vote on it until December 1, 2020, over seven months after the budget was approved.
During the budget deliberations and after, there was a big push to increase the local retail sales tax to provide money for various School System Capital projects. (Building new buildings parking lots, ball fields, renovating, replacement, repair, and such type projects.) The pushed narrative that increasing the retail sales tax would prevent real estate taxes from going up and would spread some of the Capital expense burden to people outside Gloucester who use Gloucester businesses and services sounded like a pretty darn good idea but for one thing, real estate taxes did increase, and they knew it the whole time they were spreading the deception. The biggest factor that allowed them to get away with this was the lack of Conservative Gloucester citizens who follow and engage in what is going on with our local government.
The County had the option of lowering the real estate tax rate to set it in line with the Real estate tax revenue it took in the year before. If they had, it would have resulted in the real estate tax rate being lowered from $0.695 per $100 in value to $0.659 per $100 in value. A $0.36 per $100 of value decrease in the rate. On December 1, 2020, five of our illustrious Supervisors voted to keep the $2 Million instead of lowering the rate. The two Supervisors who voted against this deception were Mike Winebarger of the Petsworth District and Phillip Bazzani of the York District.
On top of the real estate tax deception, five Supervisors voted to allow the School System to borrow nearly $6 Million to fund some of its Capital projects they were also claiming, at the same time, would be funded by the retail sales tax increase. Again, Winebarger and Bazzani voted against borrowing the money. The retail sales tax increase was passed by the voters in the November 3, 2020 election. This will give the School System another $5 Million, plus or minus, annually. The increase goes into effect July 1, 2021.
Below are links to where you can see and hear this information for yourself. I encourage everyone to visit these links.
Kenny Hogge, Sr.
December 1, 2020 Public Hearing on the real estate tax Deception: https://gloucester.granicus.com/player/clip/2344
$6 Million Dollar loan public hearing: https://gloucester.granicus.com/player/clip/2300?meta_id=133252