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Quality of life in Spotsy sacrificed
Supervisors' extreme fiscal conservatism should concern Spotsylvanians.

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Date published: 11/17/2013

IF YOU CARE about the future of Spotsylvania County, especially if you have the vested interest of living there, as I do, you have to wonder what so many of its voters are hoping for by handing the county's purse strings to this latest collection of supervisors.

This month's election appears to make the Board of Supervisors even more tight-fisted than it was before. While that hardly seems possible, residents can expect an even more miserly approach to the funding of services that provide a place with the quality of life residents expect and prospective businesses look for.

Coincidentally, one order of business this new board will soon face is the updating of county's Comprehensive Plan, its "blueprint for growth." At the top of the Comprehensive Plan is likely to be a new vision statement that establishes the tenor of the plan.

You may recall a bit of controversy a year ago when the county's Planning Commission decided to revise the vision statement, removing the words "quality of living" that had long been a part of it.

The new statement says Spotsylvania will build on the "principles of our founding fathers to provide freedom and prosperity through limited government, low taxes and pro-business policies for the 21st century."

That sort of politically charged tea-party-type rhetoric--maybe they can add "We the people" and "Don't tread on me"--is sure to fire up this group of supervisors.

The board could send a proper message by revising the revision and restoring the "quality of life" sentiment. After all, isn't that what county supervisors are elected to provide?


They also need to lead. That means rather than rallying behind the superficial, "limited government, low taxes and pro-business policies" message, they need to help their constituents understand in the coming year that a couple of pennies to the real estate tax rate is a wise investment in the county's future. On a $259,000 home, the average residential property value in Spotsylvania, that 2 cents would add about $52 to the annual tax bill, or $4.33 a month. But it would net the county $2.4 million.

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Richard Amrhine is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.