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
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
time has arrived again, who is best suited for the positions? The school system
is now in the spotlight with two seats up for grabs in Ware and Abingdon
board for many years has never challenged the superintendent. There is a
historical record of yes votes without discussion or rejections. Now at this
election a phenomenal process took place, a resignation by the board chairman,
replaced by the Ware District member, and the Abingdon District member who
decided not to seek reelection.
open, both to be filled by acclamation, one by ballot and one by write-in. Fair
and simple. Now, hold on voters of these districts, the wind of clarity and
opportunity for a fresh breeze in the sails has died.
the current Abingdon member decides to challenge the write-in candidate in his
district after deciding not to run again. Why the change of heart? What voters
need to understand are the process and politics of the board. Once elected,
sworn in and attending a couple of meetings, he can resign. This ploy allows
the sitting board to selection a “member of the club” who shares their
thinking. Do you really want this same machine control over the next four
years? Now is your chance to fill the sail with a fresh breeze.
a similar situation has arrived at the very last minute in the Ware District.
Now you have a candidate named on the ballot and a last-minute write-in to
the hard question. You the voter must ask yourself who is the engineer behind
this charade. Ask who will be the loser should it succeed: the taxpayer, the
student, or the county overall?
Meet the candidates of
2017 for seats on the Board of Supervisors and School Board. Held at the
Lighthouse Worship Center on Route 17, Gloucester County, Virginia. Forum was
held on October 23, 2017. Gloucester Virginia Links and News (GVLN) brings you
this video. This meeting was produced by the Gloucester Citizens for Accountable Government.
recent Gloucester County candidate forum, York District Supervisor Phillip
Bazzani touted his vast experience in creating and managing budgets involving substantial
amounts of money. He further insisted he knows every aspect of Gloucester’s 2018 budget.
Supervisor Bazzani has also repeatedly publicly asserted that County
Administrator Brent Fedors’ budget documents are the best he has seen in the 34 years he has lived in Gloucester. Are these
assertions true? Here is what we know to be true and
Fedors presented his first budget to the Board of Supervisors and the public,
it lacked details that were present in budgets prepared by his predecessors.
When we pointed this out to Mr. Fedors he said,
“While we are not planning to add
that level of detail to the proposed budget book for FY17, we are preparing a
supplemental information piece for Board Members that does. I will make sure
you get a copy when it is ready.”
his response, we forwarded the email conversation with Mr. Fedors and the following
statement to the Board of Supervisors.
“I and others find Mr. Fedors' budget
proposal and last response disturbing for a number of reasons and hope the
majority of you do as well. Foremost, Mr. Fedors' budget process does not
appear to include transparency; as the Code of Virginia requires the People to
be presented information at the same time as the governing body. (Unless
otherwise exempted by FOIA) Mr. Fedors' budget process does not appear to
include an acceptable level of transparency which has led to restricting the
People from data that is necessary to evaluate how their tax dollars are being
spent. I will not say much more at this time as I understand Mr. Fedors' is new
to the government game. On the other hand, his staff certainly are not. One
would hope they would guide their new boss in a better direction.”
provided us the information piece as he promised, but even after we expressed
our concerns to him and the Board of Supervisors, his FY18 budget demonstrated
the same lack of transparency. Again we contacted Mr. Fedors via email to
request line item data, which the Finance Director provided.
we find concerning is the fact that Mr. Bazzani publicly stated Mr. Fedors’
FY17 Budget was the most comprehensive budget document he has seen in all his
years of managing budgets. How could anyone make such a statement about a
budget document that lacks the amount of detail Mr. Fedors’ lacked? The FY17 budget
email conversation we have shared below clearly demonstrates the Board of
Supervisor did not have the necessary data to effectively scrutinize Mr. Fedors’
proposed budget until several days after Mr. Bazzani praised Mr. Fedors.
provided Slideshare presentations of both of Mr. Fedors’ budgets and the last
budget his predecessor prepared. We have provided our email conversations with
Mr. Fedors, the Finance Director and the Board of Supervisors, as well as Slideshare presentations of the data we were forced to request from Mr. Fedors. We have also provided
some video clips for your enjoyment. Though there are numerous other
transparency shortcomings and many wasteful spending practices that we have not touched on here, we ask you to take special notice of the difference in the
amount of data provided for budgeted expenditures for each department. You will
see that Mr. Fedors combined budgeted expendituresinto three line items for each department,
whereas his predecessor had many more line items for each department. What are they trying to hide??
I and others
find Mr. Fedors' budget proposal and last response disturbing for a number of
reasons and hope the majority of you do as well. Foremost, Mr. Fedors'
budget process does not appear to include transparency; as the Code of Virginia
requires the People to be presented information at the same time as the
governing body. (Unless otherwise exempted by FOIA) Mr. Fedors' budget process
does not appear to include an acceptable level of transparency which has led to
restricting the People from data that is necessary to evaluate how their tax
dollars are being spent.
I will not
say much more at this time as I understand Mr. Fedors' is new to the government
game. On the other hand, his staff certainly are not. One would hope they would
guide their new boss in a better direction.
"general fund expenditure budget" as presented in the 2016 proposal
is one example of the expanded data we would like to continue to see and are
hoping the Supervisors are already assessing as they process the FY17
also copies of the book available for public review at both libraries and in
the County Administration office.
me know if there are specific questions you have that I may be able to address
- I'm glad to help in any way I can.
On Mar 16,
2016, at 9:55 AM, Kenny wrote:
I would like
to get a copy of the "2017 Budget Book" that has been provided to the
Supervisors. The information posted on the County's website is not detailed
enough for the People to do any sort of analysis of what is being proposed.
tab – Provides information on the Total Transfers Out line item from the
tab – Capital Projects
tab – External Agencies Funding Request and what is included in the Proposed
me know if you have questions or need anything further.
From: Fedors, Brent Sent: Sunday, March 19, 2017 2:06 PM To: Kenny Cc: Tinsley, Stephanie <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Lewis,
Christi <email@example.com> Subject: Re: FY18 Budget Info Request
Mr. Hogge -
forwarding this to Ms. Tinsley who will coordinate our response.
for your inquiry,
On Mar 19, 2017, at 9:51 AM, Kenny wrote:
finds you in good health and spirits.
Can I get a
copy of the proposed FY18 line item budget and proposed capital improvement
expenditures? If possible; I would also like something that reflects the name
of all external agencies/nongovernmental organizations that are requesting FY18
funding and how much each is asking for. Electronic copies are preferred.
It’s a bit disheartening to run as a change agent in 2013, and then read “Sounds like the same old empty promises that have fueled the waste of Gloucester County taxpayer dollars in other areas. Like renting our libraries and health department spaces instead of owning them and not creating a revenue stream from health department rent that is paid to Gloucester by the Commonwealth, not consolidating compatible school and county services, building more parks than our local government should ever be responsible for and numerous other wasteful practices.”
We get elected on our own platforms, then get saddled with all the sins of previous Boards. If voters vote for a change, and the change candidates win, why don’t we at least start with the premise that something’s changed. I’ll be happy to address your outlined areas of concern at a later date, but right now, the only thing that relates to “promises” is that of a coming employee pay increase.
“Same old empty promises”? The only time I believe you’ve heard this Board (certainly Phillip and I) state an intent to raise pay was in 2016. And we did, with a 4% across the board raise. Now you may certainly argue as to whether or not that was enough, but we did say we’d provide a pay raise, and we delivered. Was that the “old empty promise” you were referring to?
The Board is saying that a raise is coming in FY18. Based on previous experience with this Board, you should count on it. Unless, of course, you have a NEW Board next year … they are also promising pay raises. Only difference is, they haven’t delivered on a promise yet.
Hello Readers. The following is an email that was sent to our Board of Supervisors about the County Administrator's proposed real estate tax increases. Feel free to copy and paste our suggestions in your own email to the Supervisors. All of the Supervisors' email addresses are included for your convenience.
Phillip Bazzani firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Hutson email@example.com Mike Winebarger firstname.lastname@example.org Andy James email@example.com Robert Orth firstname.lastname@example.org Ashley Chriscoe email@example.com John Meyer firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings Board Members:
Before taxes are raised again, our local government should make the following changes:
1) Consolidate our local government and public school system departments. This one action will result in over a $1 million reduction in yearly operating costs.
2) Eliminate the County’s department of community engagement and return all functions to social services, information technology, county administration, the school system and the various nongovernmental organizations the department facilitates. This action will save the taxpayers close to $400,000 per year.
3) Build our own libraries and health department space so the taxpayers can stop renting them. Owning our health department space will also result in an $80,000 yearly revenue stream from rent payments received from the state. All together this move will result in a yearly savings of around $210,000 and create $50,000 or so in additional revenue after expenses. A new main library should be built on the new Page Middle School property where you are intending to build a new transportation facility. The Hayes library should be closed until space can be purchased or constructed. All funds currently dedicated to the Hayes library should be utilized to break the 20 year lease and to accumulate in a dedicated fund to build or purchase the necessary space. A new health department space should be built or purchased in the business park near the free clinic and Sentara buildings. The health department rent revenue from the state would eventually pay to buy or build this space.
4) Limit the number of full time animal control employees to two, redirect animal control response calls through the Sheriff’s department dispatcher and cease all patrolling by animal control employees. This will result in a savings of well over $100,000 annually.
The changes we have outlined will result in a combined savings of around $1.7 million per year and create an $80,000 revenue stream.
The following SlideShare contains the salaries
of all of our local government employees. Our local government appears to have
neglected our blue collar employees for years by not investing the money to pay
them competitive wages. Heck they squirm when they have to spend money to make
sure our blue collar employees have safe and adequate work environments. Our
white collar employees have seen far more significant pay increases over the
last five years than our blue collar employees and they are slated for pay
increases again this year. Maybe it is time for our white collar employees to
make do with what they are currently earning and raise our blue collar
employees’ wages to a competitive level. This is just another area of
Gloucester’s infrastructure that has been neglected for years and continues to
be neglected today. Tell our Supervisors enough is enough. And don’t forget to
remind them this is an election year for three of them. SlideShare is best viewed in full screen mode. Just click on the double arrows.
If you listen to the present board of Supervisors and the present county administration, these folks are doing everything they can to keep taxes down. Are they?
Let's look at the facts. On the one hand, I would say they are trying to keep present costs within control. But they are not really doing anything to cut taxes by cutting out ridiculous government programs they like to tell us are services. Zoning, not a service. Planning, not a service, building and codes, not a service. These departments should be cut and the money returned to the people.
There is also too much fluff in many departments that one has to question if that many people are really needed to run them? Present budget being presented to the board is maintaining present level so called government services that we simply do not need nor want. The school board is the biggest factor in tremendous waste. Way too many administration personnel that I would love to see fully justified and not with lip service that means little to nothing but sounds good.
We have problems with department heads that earn in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand a year that could not and I will repeat, can NOT transfer those same skills to the private sector and earn even close to those wages. Something is horribly wrong here. I am not knocking the people in those jobs, most do a great job. But when the same skills pay much lower in the private sector, then we have a major disparity going on in our government.
We have people in government who are empire building and all at the expense of the taxpayer. If you want to build an empire, great, I am all for it, in the private sector. Not at the cost of the taxpayer. The school board comes to mind here as these folks have been wasting taxpayer dollars to the tune of millions that we have shown over and over on this site. Did I say education? I meant indoctrination. Schools no longer educate. They indoctrinate the children who will never question. They might ask questions when they do not understand the directive, but they are taught to not question the directive. Indoctrination costs more than education. We see this reflected in our taxes as they continue to skyrocket each year.
I get tired of the lip service paid each month at the county meetings and it turns out to be nothing more than lip service with no real actions. Charging people a fee to get a business license? That means you do not have the right to start a business without government permission. Not exactly what the framers of our Constitution had in mind. That also means you are paying a tribute to the government for the privilege of allowing you to put your savings at risk. That's pretty sad.
Freedom is gone as long as you are forced to pay for starting a business, maintaining your business every year, what you can do with your land, how and what size signs the government is going to allow you to put up, and then you have to collect taxes for the government at your expense? Really? Really! We are being fooled and robbed at every turn and there is no end in sight.
Yet everyone thinks this is all normal. No one studies history to see this is all only about 70 years old and grew very slowly. Our government officials thinks these concepts are normal and have not looked into history to see that it is not. Nor will they. In fairness, our board is comprised of some great folks that are decent people and a good time to talk to. As individuals, I have the utmost respect for them. As a collective, they are thieves as long as they continue to perpetrate these frauds against the taxpayers and business owners. They each need to go back through history and return to the principles of our founding fathers.
Tear down the services that are not services but instead government theft with no value. You do not attract business by demanding tributes be paid to the government before the government even thinks about what they will allow and what they will restrict you with. I don't care every locality does it. I don't care the state and federal government allows it. That does not make it right. In fact, the federal courts have said it is illegal when it comes to planning and zoning when planning and zoning goes outside the purview of government owned lands and properties. The same has also been said about business licensing. But who listens to the courts?
Some will argue that some of the services like zoning are good and protect the rights of private property. I disagree and there are plenty of market conditions that can easily be put in place that do not require government interference. These so called services are nothing more than socialist programs. Socialist programs are not du jur where one gets to pick and choose what programs they like and what programs they do not like. Under socialism, you get it all like it or not.
County, Virginia: The Consolidation Deception.
When we elect and hire people
to manage our tax dollars, we do so with the expectation that those folks will
take care of our money just like, if not better than, they manage their own
financial affairs. We expect them to use our money to provide necessary
services, build and maintain our infrastructure, educate our kids and take care
of the employees they hire.
Several years ago I and other
Gloucester County, Virginia residents began suggesting that our school system
and county government consolidate services as a way of reducing costs and
getting more bang for our tax dollars. The way things are now, we are paying
for two finance, vehicle maintenance, buildings and grounds, information
technology and human resource departments. So far we have heard a lot of
promises and witnessed lost opportunities. Not so long ago the school system’s
finance and human resource directors resigned. Instead of capturing the
opportunity to consolidate finance departments and human resource departments
with the county, the school system promoted one of their finance employees to
director, increased her pay and hired a new human resource director.
The Board of Supervisors
(BOS) and School Board recently spent tens of thousands of dollars to have a
study done on where and how much it will cost to build a consolidated vehicle maintenance
and utility yard facility. When the county and school system left public works,
buildings and grounds and all other industrial type functions out of the
equation, it was the first signal that they had no intentions of consolidating
anything; that is until the consultant publicized pictures of the county
garage. Now it appears they are forced to consolidate vehicle maintenance or to
at least act like they intend to do so. At this point it also looks like they are
trying to cut corners by wanting to reduce the amount of bus parking space and
number of maintenance bays that were recommended in the study.
Once the study was completed
and presented to the school board, they sent the consultant back to the drawing
board to create a scenario in which the utility department’s yard was left out of the consolidation plan. When the BOS and school board met together to discuss
the transportation study, it was quickly evident there were members of both
boards who were not pleased with the consultants findings because they have other intentions for the old Page and bus garage land. As the meeting
progressed, both boards pushed the utility department yard right out of the
picture. In fact, Supervisor Ashley Chriscoe said the utility department can make due
with what they have now. I find that completely absurd. The utility department
needs new facilities just as bad as the school system needs a new bus facility
and the county needs a new vehicle maintenance facility. Take a look at the
pictures in the slideshare presentation at the end of this article to see a
glimpse of how neglected these areas of our infrastructure are. Gloucester resident Howard Mowry told the BOS during a recent
public comment period that hazmat and the fire marshal need to condemn the
county garage that is located at the intersection of Providence Road and Route 17. Look at the slideshare pictures and you
will understand why he said it. Better yet, take some time to visit these public facilities. You will quickly realize the pictures do not show the whole view.
The utility department not
only needs a new yard, they also need a new office. The office they currently
occupy on Carriage
the Courthouse area has a basement that is full of black mold due to moisture
problems. The building was formally the health department building until they
were moved because of the mold issues. I know I would not want to spend eight
or more hours a day in a building with such mold issues; would you?
When I suggested
consolidating all industrial type functions, I suggested doing so on the old PageMiddle School and bus garage properties. I also suggested building
a strip mall type office building on part of the front portion of the land to
provide office space for the consolidated departments. I suggested
dedicating a portion of the land for a future fire and rescue facility. Neither
board seems to care for my suggestions just like they didn’t seem to care for
the results of the study they spent our tax dollars on. The funny thing about the
study was; even though the two boards limited the amount of land on the old
Page property that could be utilized for the proposed facilities, the
consultant made the facilities fit and demonstrated that it would be several
million dollars cheaper to build on the old Page and bus garage properties than
on the new Page property. The two boards have now added what they are calling
safe ingress and egress requirements by claiming the T.C. Walker and Route 17
intersection must be turned into a four way intersection and land must be
bought from Harry Corr before a consolidated facility can be located at the old
Page site. Well, these so called “requirements” are not requirements at all. It
is just their way of running up the cost to build on that site up so they can
justify moving the bus garage off the property.
It would seem there are
members of both boards who want the school board to give the old Page and bus
garage land to the county to be part of some “so called” economic development
plan that they have not shared anything about with the general public. Is it just a coincidence that a
local developer and school board member is leading the effort to completely
abandon the land? I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in coincidences.
I do believe fulfilling our infrastructure needs and providing safe decent
workplaces for our employees is far more important than filling a couple of greedy
Our local government and
school system could easily eliminate between five and seven department heads if
they would create and implement a comprehensive consolidation plan and
eliminate other unnecessary departments and positions. Tax dollar savings from
these reductions alone would be in the neighborhood of $1 million annually.
It is time to reduce the size
of our local government and school system administration and reinvest in our
infrastructure. If we don’t, real estate and other local taxes will continue to
rise and areas of our infrastructure will fail; resulting in more wasted tax
dollars. Be sure to check out the slideshare presentation and after that you will find a video of the BOS and School Board discussion on the transportation facility.
We encourage all Gloucester residents, landowners
and business owners to actively follow our elected and employed local
government representatives and administrators, and hold them accountable for
their actions. Remember, all levels of government work for We The People.
Let us know what you think
and share your Gloucester government related stories by emailing us at
Kennysr61@gmail.com or by posting remarks on the Facebook post that led you
Can we trust the school board? You may need to watch this video several times over and really listen to what John Hutchinson is actually saying and not what you may think he may be saying because when you first hear him you are likely to get the wrong message. John Hutchinson appears to be addressing the issue of a Homeland Security audit. On the one had he is. On the other hand, it's not anywhere near as comprehensive as you may have been led to believe. It's a very clever tactic used to send you the wrong information and making you think that the School Board has done everything in their power to ensure the safety of the students, teachers and staff. We are going to show you that this may not be the case and give you the proper tools to figure it out for yourself. Let's start with a video on body language.
Now let's go back to the joint meeting between the school board and the board of supervisors. Let's discuss John Hutchinson's location of his hands when he was talking about the Homeland Security evaluation. His one hand was in his pocket. If you will also look again at how his head was dodging back and forth, he did not appear to be actually looking at anyone but instead below the level of anyone before him. What did you just see in the video here on body language? I am not suggesting he was lying. I am suggesting that he may have been trying to pull the wool over the eyes of everyone listening. Again, listen to what John Hutchinson says. The security evaluation was a transportation evaluation.
That means John Hutchinson was talking about the security for the bus system where Gloucester received high marks and why John did not want to get into specifics is because that would have revealed the slight of hand he just pulled in our opinion. That is a trust issue.
So does Page Middle school meet Homeland Security guidelines for safety? Is there such a thing as guidelines for safety from Homeland Security? Yes there are actual guidelines for safety and we have those guidelines and we are going to share them with everyone here reading this. You can make up your own mind after doing the proper research whether or not the school board has done due diligence in ensuring the safety of the students. The guidelines are 317 pages long and very comprehensive and well done. It's a very impressive document. At the end of the book is a checklist that you can take with you and conduct your own evaluation. What we see is failure after failure after failure here to meet most of those guidelines.
What will they argue back on this? The Homeland Security guidelines are just that. Guidelines. As we understand how the federal government works, if they are mandatory, then the federal government would have to fund each project. So guidelines are setup instead allowing states and localities to determine what the priorities should be.
Homeland Security Building Recommendations So above is the Homeland Security guidelines for schools. Look through it and learn what those guidelines are and then take a copy of the checklist to Page Middle school and see how it stacks up. We can tell you that one local resident pounded on the school board about these issues and even provided the school board with the exact information above before Page Middle school was constructed. The School Board ignored these recommendations and that you can easily prove to yourself. To make it easier for you we have made a separate checklist that you can download for free from our slideshare site. It's the same checklist as in the above Homeland Security book we just made it easier to print out for you because we want you to see all of this for yourself.
Homeland Security Building Design Recommendations Checklist We apologize for the annoying auto play of the Bos, School Board, meeting video as it is out of our control and the default option from the county that can not be changed even though it shows as an option. We did not choose the auto play option which means it's supposed to be off. Technical difficulties the county needs to address. This is only one area in that video from the BoS/School Board where we have a lot of issues. More stories coming very soon.