Thumbs up to the volunteers and staff of the United Way of Washington County, who raised $1,649,569 in a 2005 campaign that topped the previous year's total by $18,700, despite all the money that was sent out of the area for Hurricane Katrina relief. Special credit goes to Volvo Powertrain Locals 171 and 1247, which increased their contributions by $20,318.
Thumbs up to officials in Berkeley County, W.Va., for working out a deal with Capitol Cement Corp. to enable the firm to do a $320 million expansion project that will allow the county government access to 2 million gallons of water per day, retain 150 existing jobs and create 250 jobs during construction. The expression "win-win" is overused, but it applies perfectly in this case.
Thumbs down to those members of the Washington County Commissioners who talk as if there are no easy solutions to the problem of soaring property-tax assessments. The first is to enact the "constant yield" tax rate. The second is to change the assessment cap on percentage increases in any one year. This county's cap is 10 percent; other counties' caps are lower.