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Excalating property taxes cause Jefferson County commissioner to say 'system is broken'

February 29, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Corliss on Thursday vented frustration over escalating property taxes in the county, and said he is concerned about how it is affecting the "health and quality of life" of local residents.

Corliss said the "system is broken" and believes Gov. Joe Manchin needs to be contacted about possible solutions.

The commission has been meeting as a board of equalization and review to hear appeals from county residents about their taxes, and they have heard more than 100 appeals, according to Corliss and Commissioner Dale Manuel.

Corliss took exception to several tax calculation procedures, and said some individuals' tax bills have increased more than 100 percent.

Corliss said he is concerned about how the situation is affecting senior citizens and people on fixed incomes.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael D. Thompson, whose office represents the commission on government issues, said the state Tax Department has reviewed the county's tax department and has determined that it is meeting state standards.

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Jefferson County Assessor Ginger Bordier strongly objected to Corliss' comments, saying that if something does not fit into Corliss's way of thinking, "it's all wrong."

"It shows you don't understand," Bordier said.

Commission President Frances Morgan said she did not agree with Corliss' approach to provide relief for high taxes. But she noted that some tax bills for people have tripled, and expressed concern about the "financial ruin" that could result.

While Jefferson County heard more than 100 tax appeals, other counties in the state might hear only several appeals, Morgan said.

"It's going to get worse next year," Morgan said. "I'm certain of that."

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