Madison Ups Budget

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

June 13, 2005

Taxes may go up in Madison County, and Homeowners object to bearing the burden. The county budget meeting about this occurred tonight.

The concern is around a proposed jump in real estate tax--one that would have people paying three cents higher per $100 more than last year.

"We have a paid rescue squad, or paid EMS system. The volunteers requested that they pick-up weekends so that added two more days a week to their load. That was several hundred thousand dollars there," explained David C. Jones, Chairman of the Madison Board of Supervisors.

The county hired paid weekend EMS employees beginning late last summer. But one citizen described the program as a taxi service.

"That is nearly six hundred dollars a run that is being squandered, wasted," said resident Robert Kane.

"I think we should charge for that service since it is professional," said resident Bill Hinkes.

City representatives however, say the service is not abused, but "charging for our calls is something that's being looked at," said EMS Coordinator Lewis Jenkins.

Madison County currently employs 66 full-time workers. This budget proposes to add three more: an accounts-payable technician, a soil erosion specialist, and a 9-1-1 dispatcher. This year's budget is 9 percent higher than last years.

"I don't like to pay tax rates or increase tax rates. Our tax rates are better than all the other Central Virginia counties," said Director of Economic Development Fritz Brittain.

A percentage of the budget is also going to help renovate and expand the Animal Shelter. This project is being done by a local company in Culpeper.

Madison officials will have a final vote on the Real Estate tax increase on June 22.

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