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Marshall may seek input on reversion
Sunday, December 1, 2013
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Del. Danny Marshall said Friday he may ask for state input on the issue of Martinsville reverting to town status.
Marshall, R-Danville, said he has been asked by members of the Martinsville City Council and Henry County Board of Supervisors to consider reviving bills he proposed several years ago that would have required county residents to “vote to see if they wanted the city to revert and dump that expense onto the county.”
Before the bills were heard in the General Assembly, Martinsville dropped its consideration of the idea, he said. That made the issue moot at that time.
Now, with Martinsville’s recent receipt of a reversion study, Marshall said he has been asked to reconsider the bills.
Officials also have asked about “looking at other ways to figure out a better path forward than simple reversion. It puts a real burden on residents of Henry County because property taxes in Martinsville might go down, the county’s might go up,” he said.
That also is the assessment in the city’s reversion study. According to the study, under reversion, Martinsville real estate taxes could fall to as low as 60 cents per $100 of assessed value (a town tax of 8 cents plus a county tax of 52 cents), compared to $1.06 now. The county’s current real estate tax rate of 48.8 cents per $100 of assessed value would rise to about 52 cents per $100 of assessed value if it made up all of its increased costs from reversion through the real estate tax, the study stated.
According to Marshall, Henry County Administrator Tim Hall suggested that the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) do a study in 2014 on a “win-win situation,” one that might help the county as well as the city.
JLARC is the oversight agency of the Virginia General Assembly, established to evaluate the operations and performance of state agencies and programs, according to its website.
JLARC also may be able to answer some questions about reversion, such as how the Composite Index — used to calculate state funds to school divisions and local support — would work if the county and city schools were consolidated in a reversion, Marshall said.
The delegate said he has asked Hall to have County Attorney George Lyle make a list of specific questions on the issue. Marshall said he would forward that list to the state so it could be placed in a resolution to get JLARC to study the issue next year.