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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Supervisors mull proposal to allow school ‘donations’ on tax tickets

Friday, May 24, 2013

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

A Franklin County supervisor wants to give residents a chance to give extra money for schools as part of their annual tax bills.

"Some say they want to pay more taxes (for the school system)," said Blackwater District Supervisor Cline Brubaker at Tuesday's board meeting.

Brubaker suggested county tax tickets that are mailed out in the fall should include a provision for allowing extra money earmarked for schools.

"If you want to give to the school system, include the amount with the tax bill," he said. "Give them the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is."

Brubaker was referring to several speakers who said during the public hearing on the fiscal 2013-14 budget that they would not mind paying more in taxes to help the school system, which is facing a $1.2 million shortfall for next fiscal year.

Supervisors voted down a proposal to increase the county real estate tax by 2 cents for every $100 of assessed value. That would have raised more than $1.2 million next year, almost enough to cover the shortfall.

The board did vote on Tuesday to allocate an extra $300,000 for schools next year.

Board Chairman David Cundiff said it seemed like a "pretty good idea," and he compared it to the program Appalachian Power Co. has that gives customers a chance to add money to their payments to help those who are struggling.

But Blue Ridge District Supervisor Bobby Thompson said the proposal may "open up a can of worms" as far as residents wanting to earmark money for other groups and organizations.

"We need to go into this with our eyes open," he said.

Brubaker said to change the tax tickets and administer the extra money would cost the county about $1,200.

"We could do it one year, and if we don't get our $1,200 back, we wouldn't do it again," said Snow Creek District Supervisor Leland Mitchell.

The board took no action on the proposal.

Brubaker also suggested that all county and school employees should take random drug tests.

All bus drivers, fire and rescue personnel, police and public safety officers in the county already do, he said, and teachers should set an example.

"This is not intended to offend anyone," he added.

County Administrator Rick Huff said there is a question whether the county can require school employees or constitutional office employees to take random drug tests.

"We can get the info on what is possible," he said.

"I think this is something that we need," said Gills Creek Supervisor Bob Camicia.

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