FLATWOODS — Lincoln County Assessor Josh Brumfield, a former Boone County school official, addressed his fellow Assessors on the consequences the Lincoln County School Board is facing next year. Brumfield made his remarks at the West Virginia Association of Assessors meeting held September 17 in Flatwoods.
Brumfield, who has discussed the subject earlier with citizens of his county, pointed out that failure to comply with State Law 11-1C-5b (Senate Bill 541) can devastate a local school board.
According to Brumfield, the law requires a significant penalty for school boards in counties where assessors fail their annual audit. Based on data he has received, Brumfield believes the Lincoln School Board stands to lose $878,000 next year since the administration of former Assessor Tracy Dempsey failed its 2012 audit. Dempsey also has Boone County connections, having formerly served as State Senator from the district that includes the county.
Brumfield pointed out to his fellow Assessors that the law puts a “tremendous responsibility on Assessors” and the consequences of failing audits may be more than some school boards can bear.
The Lincoln Assessor also asked his colleagues to draft a letter of support directed to the West Virginia Legislature requesting that legislation be passed this fall to give Lincoln County an extension of at least two years to correct the valuation problems that have led to the current dilemma.
On a unanimous vote, the membership voted to draft such a letter, giving a “two-year window” for correcting valuations before a penalty can be imposed on school boards.
“With the support of my local delegates and the West Virginia Association of Assessors I now feel even more confident that the legislature and governor will recognize Lincoln County’s situation,” Brumfield said. “Ultimately, our state elected officials, as a whole, must work toward a commonsense solution to do the right thing for the employees and students of the school board and taxpayers of Lincoln County.”
Brumfield concluded, “As I said to one of my colleagues at the meeting, the people of Lincoln County have historically supported excess fire, ambulance/ emergency service levies and school board excess levies, going above and beyond their tax obligation. It is time our state officials do the right thing and support the people of Lincoln County.”