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Thursday, May 23, 2013
Downtown’s new Center is great
Southwest Virginia really has a gem with the new and improved Center in the Square in downtown Roanoke.
As a volunteer this past Saturday, I got to see one of the most beautiful buildings ever.
The layout is fantastic. From the aquarium on the first floor to the rooftop on the seventh floor, it is a very organized and beautiful addition to our city.
Everyone should get out and see what we have to offer.
There is something for everyone in the building — butterflies, science museum, African-American museum, history museum.
Visit downtown, and you won’t regret it.
BRIAN D. BOWMAN
Collect late taxes in Franklin County
I came across a website (tinyurl.com/6jrog9q) that lists delinquent personal property and real estate taxes for Franklin County.
Out of curiosity, I clicked the far right arrow to see how many pages were listed.
To my astonishment, there were 544 pages with 30 entries per page, which equates to more than 16,000 entries for taxes due that were not collected by the county.
Botetourt County actively pursues unpaid tax debt and has a collection rate upward of 98 percent. Since Page 1 of 544 pages on the Franklin County website on that day totalled $20,096 in unpaid taxes, I’m curious to know what its collection rate is.
A brief scan through some of the amounts due were almost comical, as many are under $10. Even if every bill were only $10, when you multiply by 16,000 you’d get $160,000 of revenue from people who have chosen to ignore their debt. That alone would save the middle school sports, high school sports and the governor’s school slots.
I suspect that collecting even a portion of the outstanding debt would not be difficult and would negate the need for any funding cuts to the school system.
Editor’s note: Tuesday night, county supervisors approved an extra $300,000 for schools. Officials said they expect the funding to come from improved tax collection.
Franklin County should be a model
Here are the facts that I’ve gleaned from The Roanoke Times story “School board resignee rethinks move” (May 18 news story):
* Supervisors rejected a 2-cent increase in the real estate tax by a 6-1 vote last month.
* School officials and many others had hoped the Franklin County Board of Supervisors would approve a 2-cent increase in the real estate tax rate to boost funding for the school division.
It’s a story of a school board possibly welcoming back the chairman as he reconsidered what seemed to be his knee-jerk reaction to the way things transpired.
But that isn’t the real story.
The real story is: An elected body rejected raising taxes to support extracurricular activities, thus requiring another elected body to choose cuts in said activities to achieve its appointed mission, the education of schoolchildren.
And that shouldn’t be the story. The story should be that an elected body refused to raise taxes to fund non-mission-specific programs.
Elected personnel in Richmond, and especially in Washington, D.C., should learn from the board of Franklin County. And if they don’t, their replacements should.
DAVID E. FISHER
Editor’s note: Ultimately, former school board Chairman Ed Jamison let his resignation stand.
Weep no tears for the tea party
I’ve listened to the Republicans rant and rave about the treatment of the tea party by the Internal Revenue Service.
Let’s get real.
The tea party is even further to the right than the GOP when it comes to trying to do in the poor and working class, and I’m sure I’m not the only person in this country who thinks the tea party and Republicans are the ones who should be in jail.
Weather JournalEarly mix, then ice storm Sunday