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2019-2-4

ATTN: GREENSVILLE COUNTY TAXPAYERS

Greensville County Business, Professional and Occupational Licenses for 2019 are now due.  To avoid penalties, please secure your 2019 license from the Commissioner of the Revenue’s Office on or before March 1st.  We are located in the Greensville County Government Building at 1781 Greensville County Circle, Rm 132 on Highway 301 North – Sussex Drive.  Our office hours are from 8 to 5 Monday thru Friday.


Martha S. Swenson
Master Commissioner of the Revenue
Greensville County, Virginia

COUNTY OF GREENSVILLE GENERAL REASSESSMENT OF REAL ESTATE

Greensville County has retained Pearson’s Appraisal Service, Inc., to perform the 2020 General Reassessment of real estate, which will become effective January 1, 2020. The County currently performs real estate reassessment every 6 years. The Code of Virginia, 1950, as amended, mandates that each locality periodically perform a general reassessment of real estate to determine each property’s fair market.

All associates of the reassessment team will be carrying a photo I.D. and County Reassessment signs will be displayed on their vehicles. Appraisers will be viewing dwellings and properties, as well as taking exterior pictures/measurements in order to determine fair market value. No reassessment staff will be entering any home. The ultimate goal is to get a good, accurate assessment of all real estate in the County.

Field assessments are expected to be completed by September 2019. Notices of the assessments will be mailed out to property owners in November 2019. These notices will also give the details on the method of appealing the proposed assessed values.

Property owners are encouraged to provide the appraisers with any additional information that may be helpful in assessing their property. To provide information, please call 540-480-6175.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Would Become Governor if Northam Resigns

By Owen FitzGerald, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — If Gov. Ralph Northam resigns because of the scandal over a racist picture in his medical school yearbook, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax would become the 74th governor of Virginia.

That would make Fairfax, 39, the second African-American governor in Virginia’s history and just the fourth to hold the office nationwide in recent years. In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder became the first elected African-American governor in the United States.

Article V, Section 16, of the Constitution of Virginia sets out the succession to the office of governor: “In the case of the removal of the Governor from office or in the case of his disqualification, death, or resignation, the Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor.”

Like Northam, Fairfax is a Democrat. He ran for lieutenant governor in 2017, defeating the Republican nominee, state Sen. Jill Vogel of Fauquier County. This is Fairfax’s first term in elective office.

Fairfax, who was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a descendent of Virginia slaves. When he was sworn into office, Fairfax was carrying in his breast pocket the manumission papers that freed his great-great-great-grandfather.

In private life, Fairfax is an attorney with a law firm in Northern Virginia and previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney. He is a graduate of Duke University and Columbia Law School and in 2013 won the National Bar Association’s “Nation’s Best Advocates Award,” which recognizes 40 top attorneys nationwide under the age of 40.

Northam said in public statement Saturday afternoon that he would not resign but instead would work to reconcile the “people he has hurt.” Northam added that Fairfax, who did not attend the governor’s press conference, did not want him to resign.

In a statement following the Northam’s press conference, Fairfax did not join Democratic colleagues calling for the governor’s resignation. Fairfax’s statement said of Northam: “While his career has been marked by service to children, soldiers and constituents, I cannot condone the actions from his past that, at the very least, suggest a comfort with Virginia’s darker history of white supremacy, racial stereotyping and intimidation.”

As lieutenant governor, Fairfax is the presiding officer in the Virginia Senate. Republicans have a 22-19 advantage over Democrats in the Senate. The lieutenant governor votes only in the case of a tie.

Under the Virginia Constitution, if Fairfax does end up succeeding Northam, the Senate’s president pro tempore would serve as the Senate’s presiding officer. That position is currently held by Republican Sen. Stephen Newman of Bedford.

Newman issued a statement Saturday saying that “my wife and I have asked God to give our Governor wisdom in the coming hours, and for the health, clarity and resolve to do the right thing for the people of Virginia.”

“After this dark hour has passed, the President Pro Tempore must be in a position to serve as a healer, bringing all parties back together to work for a better and stronger Commonwealth,” Newman said.

Northam Denies Racist Photo And Says He Won’t Resign

By Georgia Geen, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Resisting pressure to resign, Gov. Ralph Northam said Saturday that he is not one of the individuals in a racist photo found on his medical school yearbook page, but he revealed he once “darkened” his skin as part of a Michael Jackson costume in a dance contest the same year.

At an afternoon press conference, Northam said the costume was not blackface — which is when a non-black person uses makeup or another substance to appear black. At the San Antonio event, which occurred in 1984, the same year the yearbook photo was taken, a 25-year-old Northam put shoe polish on his cheeks. He said he used a small amount because the substance is “hard to get off.”

“I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that,” Northam said.

Blackface in the U.S. originated with 19th-century theatrical performances and was used to perpetuate racist stereotypes.

Northam’s defense centers around the San Antonio event. On Saturday, he said that he had no recollection of attending the party where the racist photo was taken but that he remembers “darkening” his skin to look like Jackson. To Northam, his clear recollection of one event and not the other is the sign he wasn’t “the person in that uniform and I am not the person to the right.”

After conversations with family, friends and former classmates, Northam said he came to the conclusion that he was not in the photo. He said he previously identified himself as being in the image because of all of the “hurt” it was causing.

Northam did not have a specific explanation for how the photo appeared on his yearbook page. He said he submitted three other photos but did not recognize the image in question. It’s possible, he said, that the photo belonged to a classmate and was incorrectly placed on his page.

Eastern Virginia Medical School, Northam’s alma mater that produced the yearbook, issued a statement by its president saying the institution shares the “outrage, alarm and sadness voiced by our alumni, the press and many on social media” over the yearbook image.

In Northam’s Virginia Military Institute yearbook, one of his nicknames was listed as “coonman” — “coon” is a racial slur referring to black people. He said two older classmates referred to him as such, but he said that he did not know their motives or intent and that he regrets the fact that the nickname was used in the yearbook.

Since the photo surfaced Friday, Northam has maintained that he will not resign.

“As long as I feel I can lead, I will continue to do that,” Northam said. “If I reach a point where I am not comfortable with that, obviously I will sit back and have that discussion.”

Scores of groups and individuals have called for Northam to step down as governor in response, including Susan Swecker, chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the NAACP and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. The calls for his resignation still sounded after his denial of the photo.

“It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down,” said Attorney General Mark Herring in a statement released more than 24 hours after the photo first surfaced.

Many Virginians aren’t receptive to Northam’s remorse. Saturday morning, a group of about 25 protesters urged Northam to resign. Next to the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, David Williams stood with a sign that read, “Step down and do VA a favor.” He attended the march with his two young-adult daughters.

“I’m out here, really, to show my kids that you must protest when anything comes up that’s wrong,” Williams said. “The pictures that we saw was very disturbing and very hurtful, especially to African Americans.”

Francesca Leigh Davis, who attended the protest, said she was “appalled” at Northam’s reaction to the backlash.

“You put black people through this shame, the people who voted for you to stand in this office. I’m insulted that black people are used like pawns in this particular party,” Davis said. “Think of each and every black vote that was cast for you. We trusted you.”

Both Democrats and Republicans Demand Gov. Northam’s Resignation

By Saffeya Ahmed, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Across the political spectrum, government officials and advocacy groups are calling for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s resignation after media reports of a racist photo on his page in a college yearbook.

The photo, from Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook, features two men — one dressed in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe. On Friday, Northam apologized for the photo. On Saturday, he said that it was not him in the picture after all and that he would not resign.

Calls for Northam’s resignation began Friday night and continued throughout Saturday. They came from both sides of the aisle, including Virginia Democrats, House and Senate Republican leaders and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

“When the racist picture first emerged Friday, we were shocked and repulsed. The photo is disturbing and offensive, as unacceptable in 1984 as it is today,” said a statement issued by House Speaker Kirk Cox and other Republicans.

“While we respect the governor’s lifetime of service, his ability to lead and govern is permanently impaired and the interests of the commonwealth necessitate his resignation.”

Democratic leaders agreed.

Susan Swecker, chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, issued a statement Saturday calling for Northam’s immediate resignation.

“We made the decision to let Gov. Northam do the correct thing and resign this morning — we have gotten word he will not do so this morning. We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign. He no longer has our confidence or our support.”

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe denounced the photo on Twitter, calling the photos “racist, unacceptable and inexcusable at any age an any time.” He said Northam should resign, deeming the situation “untenable.”

On Saturday afternoon, Attorney General Mark Herring said, “It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down.”

Saturday night, more than a dozen progressive groups – including Planned Parenthood, Equality Virginia and environmental and labor organizations – issued a statement reiterating their call for Northam to leave office.

“We heard what the Governor said today and we are not only unmoved but even more disgusted in his actions and changing stories. We reaffirm our demand that he must immediately resign,” the statement said.

New Virginia Majority, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Progress Virginia are among other groups that have called for Northam to step down.

“No matter the era, or the messenger, blackface costumes and Ku Klux Klan regalia have represented terror and fear for communities of color since Reconstruction,” said Harrison Wallace, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. “There is no excuse for wearing them.”

Virginia Sees Population Booms and Big Declines

By Andrew Gionfriddo, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — So far this decade, Virginia has grown — and shrunk — in population.

Seventy of the state’s 133 cities and counties gained population between April 1, 2010, and July 1, 2018, according to data released this week by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia. The population of Loudoun County, in Northern Virginia, jumped 30 percent, to more than 406,000.

But the remaining 63 localities — largely rural areas in the southern and western parts of the state — saw population declines. The population of Buchanan County, in the Appalachian Mountains bordering West Virginia and Kentucky, dropped more than 10 percent, to fewer than 21,600 residents.

Overall, Virginia’s population has grown by 6.5 percent since the 2010 census, passing 8.5 million residents last year, according to the Weldon Cooper Center, which generates the state’s official population estimates.

Even so, the state’s annual population growth this decade is the lowest since the 1920s, the center said. During the past five years, the commonwealth’s population has grown more slowly than the nation as a whole.

Hamilton Lombard, a demographer who prepared the annual estimates, said Virginia’s population growth has slowed largely because of “domestic out-migration” — more people moving out of Virginia than into the state.

“Over the last five years, 80,000 more Virginians moved out than residents from other states moved in,” Lombard said. “Many were young families, which helped cause Virginia’s public school enrollment to decline last fall for the first time since 1984.”

The center’s estimates show that Northern Virginia’s population has grown about 13 percent since 2018. Of the 10 fastest-growing localities in Virginia, eight are part of the Washington, D.C., metro area. Besides Loudoun County, they include Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Arlington, Manassas Park, Stafford County, Prince William County and Alexandria.

The other localities in the top 10 are New Kent County, between Richmond and Williamsburg, which grew 22 percent — second only to Loudoun County; and Charlottesville, which grew 13.5 percent.

On the other hand, every Virginia county bordering North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky lost population this decade. Besides Buchanan County, the population declined 9 percent in Dickenson County and 7 percent in the counties of Wise, Tazewell, Alleghany and Surry and the cities of Emporia and Galax. Tazewell and Wise counties each lost more than 3,000 residents.

Augie Wallmeyer, author of the book “The Extremes of Virginia,” attributed the population decline in southern Virginia to a multitude of overlapping conditions.

The most glaring reason is financial insecurity, Wallmeyer said. With the decline of the coal, textile and agriculture industries, Southside Virginia has struggled to provide jobs and economic opportunities, especially for young people. As a result, they move out of the state or to northern parts of Virginia to find work and settle down.

Wallmeyer said other reasons people are leaving could include drug problems in the southern part of the state, lack of higher education and a lack of quality health care.

“The state has known about these problems for quite some time and is taking efforts to put programs in place to make better opportunities available, particularly for young people,” he said.

One effort involves the move by Amazon to invest $2.5 billion in Northern Virginia and open a headquarters in the area. With that initiative, the state will help community colleges provide trade and technical training so that workers can qualify for jobs in today’s more modern economy, Wallmeyer said.

“A big part of that package deal is a significant commitment by the state to drastically increase its training of computer engineering people,” Wallmeyer said. “That’s going to help all of Virginia, not just Northern Virginia.”

He is optimistic that such initiatives can revitalize the economy and stabilize the population in rural areas.

“It’s not going to happen to happen today or tonight or tomorrow, but the seeds are planted,” Wallmeyer said.

House OKs Letting Parents Review School Materials

By Rodney Robinson, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Thirteen Democratic delegates split from bipartisan support of a House bill that allows parents to review anti-bullying or suicide prevention materials at their children’s school that may include graphic sexual or violent content.

HB 2107, carried by Del. Margaret Ransone, R-Westmoreland, “requires local school boards to develop and implement policies that ensure parents the right to review any audio-visual materials that contain graphic sexual or violent content used in any anti-bullying or suicide prevention program,” according to the bill summary.

Parents could excuse their children from viewing the materials. The school would be required to provide written notice of a parent’s right to review the material and their right to excuse their child from participating in that part of the program, the bill says.

The bill heads to the Senate after passing the House, 86-13, on Tuesday.

Willie Deutsch, a member of the Prince William County School Board, supported the bill, saying, “Parental involvement is essential to a child’s academic success.”

“We need more parents involved in their children’s education,” Deutsch stated in a press release.

Deutsch used the opportunity to blast Del. Lee Carter of Manassas, who voted against the bill along with a dozen fellow Democratic delegates. “Sadly, Del. Carter made it clear that he opposes the important role of parents in their children’s education,” Deutsch said.

Carter declined to respond to Deutsch’s statement.

In 2016, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed a similar bill that passed the House and Senate. That legislation required schools to notify parents of any sexually explicit teaching material used in the classroom. If parents chose not to allow their children to view the material, teachers would have to provide alternative assignments.

The House fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed to override McAuliffe’s veto.

Administration Officials Stress Need for Broadband Access for all Rural Virginia at Annual Caucus Reception

RICHMOND, Virginia (January 31, 2019) – Bringing universal broadband coverage to rural Virginia remains a top priority for the Commonwealth, Governor Ralph Northam told more than 200 elected officials, business and government leaders at the annual Rural Caucus Reception in Richmond on Wednesday, January 30.
 
“There is no way today that business can grow in Virginia, there is no way that a business will want to come to Virginia, especially rural Virginia, if we don’t have universal access to broadband,” Northam said. “Our goal in Virginia is to make Virginia the most business-friendly state in the country. We want to make sure all Virginians, no matter who you are, no matter where you are, have a job to support themselves and their families with.”
 
In addition to Northam, Lt. Governor of Virginia Justin Fairfax and Joseph Mengedoth, Associate Regional Economist, Federal Reserve Bank gave brief remarks to attendees at the annual event co-hosted by the Center for Rural Virginia and the Virginia Association of Counties.
 
A number of secretariats, other state administration officials and members of the General Assembly’s Rural Caucus attended. All told, representatives from 30 counties across the state attended the event, and hundreds more tuned in to the Facebook Live video feed and live Twitter coverage.
 
“Coming together at events like this – sharing challenges and best practices face-to-face – are among the best ways we can all advocate for rural Virginia,” said Kristie Proctor, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Virginia. “Seeing so many representatives from across the Commonwealth – from the farthest corner of Southwest Virginia to the most eastern shores of rural coastal Virginia – at our annual Rural Caucus Reception gives me great hope for what we can all accomplish this year.”

With the General Assembly still in their 2019 session, economic development remains a key topic when it comes to developing policy to grow rural Virginia.
 
While the Virginia unemployment rate currently sits at 2.8 percent, Northam said, “I remind people that if you go to the Eastern Shore where I’m from, or the Southside or the Southwest, we still have a lot of work to do.”
 
In addition to broadband, among the initiatives legislators are tracking this General Assembly session include improvements on the Interstate 81 corridor where a great deal of commerce occurs, supporting continued efforts to attract visitors to Virginia with tourism being the fifth largest industry in the state, and the importance of supporting and growing agriculture and forestry operations across the Commonwealth.
 
“People sometimes forget that agriculture and forestry remain the number one industry in Virginia,” Northam said. “We need to do everything that we can to encourage our farmers, our foresters.”
 
Ninety percent of Virginia is rural, Lt. Governor Fairfax noted in his remarks.
 
“Opportunity is the oxygen of a democracy and where it exists people and communities grow and thrive,” Fairfax said. “We want to make sure there is more opportunity in all parts of the Commonwealth, but in particular in our rural areas.”

People in rural Virginia need those opportunities, Mengedoth of the Federal Reserve Bank noted.
 
In some rural Virginia areas, Mengedoth explained in his remarks, the unemployment rate is on the decline not because people are finding jobs, but rather because people are giving up looking for jobs and leaving the labor force all together.
 
“I believe we live in the best state in the best country in the world,” Northam said “Let’s all continue to work together to do everything that we can to bring rural Virginia back.”

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