To the editor:
No one wants to talk about or hear about personal property taxes in Brooke County. However, I think if you understood them and actually knew where the money was going, you wouldn't be as opposed to discussing.
I, in the last year, just dug into them and was actually surprised by my findings. The reason I am writing this is because since joining the Brooke County Planning Commission and currently being the president, we have discussed a lot about taxes, budgets, county needs, etc. As I learned more and more, I also figured out that many residents in the county neglect to pay due to lack of understanding or just choose to be non-law abiding citizens.
Personal property encompasses as read on your yearly form: "List cars, trucks, vans, motor vehicles (show CCS), scooters, mobile campers, motor homes, aircraft, boats and trailers, utility trailers, dozers, backhoes, welders, recreational 4-wheelers, show or race horses, show or race dogs, etc. Include unlicensed vehicles. (Do not list leased vehicles) VIN is required for accurate valuation."
This covers a wide array of animals and equipment containing an engine. Keep in mind, Brooke County did not come up with this list, the state did. How many of you reading this already know you are not paying taxes on some items on the list or know of family members and neighbors choosing to short our communities? In 2013, only 44 people paid taxes on their ATVs, and I was one of them. That number should make you think about how many people you know are making the choice to not pay their taxes.
Many of you are now saying - "Big government, we are being over taxed daily;" "I earn it, I choose how to spend it;" "I have not been caught yet," and so on. What you do not know is that this money stays in our back yard and protects your homes, saves your life, teaches our future, gives the children a place to play and makes our community a better place. Below I will list the breakdown of where this money goes and you will see what it provides our community:
* State: 0.3 percent;
* Brooke County: 21.5 percent;
* Ambulance: 4.4 percent (This includes library, senior center, health department, the Extension Office, Brooke Hills Park, etc.);
* Fire: 2.08 percent;
* School, current: 29.24 percent;
* School, excess: 34.59 percent;
* School bond: 7.67 percent.
If you feel education, health, protection and community are important to your life, fill out your property tax forms correctly and pay what you, as a law abiding, concerned, proud citizen of Brooke County, should. I actually feel much better about paying my property taxes knowing it will go to help educate and protect my family as well as give them a better community to be raised in.
Do what's right - pay the taxes you owe, and in doing so help our community grow.