Stafford County Board of Supervisors

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader is (generally) a proud resident of Stafford County Virginia. He lives just over the border between Stafford County and Fredericksburg. (And for those of you not Virginia residents, you might be interested to know that incorporated cities (like Fredericksburg) are self-governing and not part of the counties that surround them. They are seperate jurisdictions. So, the City of Chicago, IL is both a city, but it is part of Cook County, IL. Virginia is the only state where incorporated cities are not part of counties.) So while he might describe his residence as being “in Fredericksburg” he does this to denote a more common and compact geographic area and not a real political description.

So… Why does your Maximum Leader bring this up? Well, until recently, he felt that Stafford County, VA was a pretty well governed place. Sure he’s had little complaints here and there about stupid things. But they were all pretty minor. Last month there was a great debate swirling in the county. There was a proposal in impose a Business, Professional and Occupancy License tax. This mouthful of a tax was shortened to the BPOL tax. Basically, the BPOL is a tax that the Commonwealth allows localities to levy on certain types of businesses in their locality. He says certain types of businesses because some businesses that are regulated at the state level are not subject to the tax. The federal government is (as you would expect) also exempt from the tax.

What is the BPOL a tax on? It is a tax on gross receipts at a fixed rate. Regardless of a company’s profitability, they would be taxed. To give you an example. Let us say that you own a small business. Your company has gross receipts of $500,000. In Stafford the first $200,000 of gross receipts are exempted from tax, and the remainder is taxed at $.16/per dollar. So, your hypothetical company would owe $48,000 in tax. Of course, the tax doesn’t look at your expenses. So it is possible that your hypothetical company has $500,000 in gross reciepts and $450,000 of expenses. In this senario, your company profit would be reduced from $50,000 to $2,000. Isn’t that fun!

So… All of the localities around Stafford County have implemented a BPOL tax. Of the localities around, none of them have been growing at the rate that Stafford has. Stafford has been well regarded in the business community because of the low taxes and ease of doing business in the county. In an effort to lure businesses other localities have waived payment of the BPOL as an enticement. (Fredericksburg VA has done this quite a bit recently - so much so that one wonders why any business pays the tax in the first place. They should just threaten to move and ask the City Council for an exemption. But your Maximum Leader disgresses…)

So… The county that doesn’t have the BPOL has been growing and thriving (compared to the other areas). What does the Stafford Board of Supervisors decided to do to change this? Well… Implement a BPOL in Stafford of course!

Your Maximum Leader (being a civic-minded dude) has been to a few County Council meetings in the past. So he decided to go to this one too. Well… There were hundreds (literally hundreds) of citizens who showed up to speak against the BPOL. There were so many people in the courthouse that the fire marshal required that offices in the building be opened up for people to sit in and wait because it was a hazard to have them standing in halls. There were more people at this public hearing than your Maximum Leader has ever seen at a county supervisors meeting - ever. (In any jusrisdiction in which he’s lived - including Fairfax County VA. Indeed, there were more people at this county supervisors meeting than he’s seen in the galleries of the US House of Representatives when real business was being done.)

So… What were the hundreds of citizens there treated to? Allow your Maximum Leader to present into evidence this 10 minute highlight reel:

Alas, your Maximum Leader’s supervisor (Mr Schwartz) presided over this abortion of a public meeting. He is a complete and total putz. It makes your Maximum Leader’s blood boil to watch this.

FYI… Your Maximum Leader stayed at the hearing from 7ish when it began until about 10pm. The public comment period ended and the supervisors voted at 3am. Madness…

In case you are wondering (and the video isn’t clear), the BPOL was implemented (over the protest of the professional staff employed by the supervisors to run the county as well as hundreds of citizens) on a 4-3 vote. Sort of… As you might have seen from the video, it took a few tries for the supervisors to figure out what the fuck they were doing. Your Maximum Leader still isn’t sure that Supervisor Joe Brito knows who the fuck he is or what the fuck he’s doing.

So while your Maximum Leader is generally pleased with the governance of his state, he is now displeased with the governance of his county.

Carry on.

Aitch said:

Well, My Maximum Leader, it appears that you have a little bit of Michigan right there in Stafford County. I think I even spotted Gov. Granholm and Kwame Kilpatrick.

Polymath said:

Speaking of not knowing what the fuck one is doing, the Mayor of the City of Charlottesville, Dave Norris, wants to ban plastic shopping bags. He also wants to Free Tibet, and build hotel-type “temporary” residences for the homeless. One onders who will pay the City’s occupancy tax (and meals tax at the soup kitchen) on the homeless’ behalf.

Charlottesville is also going to re-brick the entire downtown pedestrian mall, for the princely sum of $7 million. Too many important women were getting the heels of their shoes stuck in the joints between the old bricks. None of the bricks in good condition (about 80% by professional estimate) are to be re-used or recycled.

Did I mention Albemarle county (where I live) has a “revenue sharing” plan with Charlottesville? Read: the county keeps the city afloat. Argh.

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