Letter to the Editor. The following excerpt from the Cape Charles Mirror struck me as telling regarding the relationship between the County and Cape Charles:
“The County’s tacit support for running Kelly’s out of business falls in line with what we have witnessed historically. To say there is some distrust and animosity between Cape Charles and Northampton is an obvious understatement. This goes all the way back to the 90s and the County’s attempt to thwart Cape Charles annexing the land that is now Bay Creek. Relative to Cape Charles, the County tends to behave like the Mexican Cartels–they like the money the town brings in, but they also feel the need to slap them down as a way to reestablish the pecking order. Current BoS Chairman Bennett has complained in the past that tourism (Cape Charles) only benefits a few. Cape Charles gets the cake, but the County only gets to lick the bowl.”
Perhaps this is more telling than most people can appreciate and perhaps why the County has repeatedly said they will not ‘settle’ the real estate tax dispute now to be heard by the Supreme Court of Virginia, in its upcoming Panel hearings on the matter of Robert E. Galloway et al. v. Northampton County et al.
The everlasting contempt for anything Bay Creek seeps out in language and behavior.
The case was brought because there is substantial evidence that Northampton County (NC) failed to make assessments with uniformity from 2009 – 2014 and failed to comply with required professional standards in 2012, 2013 and 2014, as shown by the following pleading:
In fact, NC failed to determine the market value of the referenced properties between 2009 and 2014, because its market sales data was not current. Reliance on sales data prior to the 2007 national recession improperly gave weight to the peak pricing prior to the substantial market correction. The correction decreased market values materially from 2008 through the early years of the 2010’s. Market evidence was readily available that Cape Charles sales activity and pricing were declining rapidly. Reliance on sales data prior to 2008, and furthermore, making no adjustments to valuations between 2008 and 2012, is evidence that NC had frozen its assessments at the peak pricing, while the actual market participants were suffering financial losses as illustrated in the 2009 and 2010 sales data. The evidence of significant market declines should have drawn immediate consideration by NC.
The appeal placed before the SCVA is pretty simple, just a 14-page reply. The County’s reply is 45 pages. Cape Charles has two law firms, which are basically ‘ditto’ – ing – anything and everything that the County said.
In the reply brief, the appellants request that the case be moved back to Eastville, where I suspect the temperature on anything Bay Creek versus the County exceeds the COVID-19 threshold.
The longer this goes on, the expense exposure to the County and Town for interest runs at 10% per annum on over-assessed paid taxes, and the County and the Co-op continue to pay for this folly with taxpayer’s funds.