Paul Petrauskas of Upperville says Fauquier residents are paying too much in taxes and that the priorities to spend that revenue are out of whack.
Petrauskas has filed to run as an independent in an attempt to unseat Mary Leigh McDaniel on the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors representing the Marshall District.
McDaniel, an independent on a board with Republicans occupying the other four seats, is seeking her second four-year term. The election is Nov. 5.
McDaniel is managing partner at Updegrove, McDaniel, McMullen and Chiccehitto, a certified public accounting and consulting firm in Warrenton.
Petrauskas has also worked as a financial analyst for Kade’s Financial and the Topps Company. He’s worked on budgets and variance analysis (quantitative analysis of the difference in planned and actual behavior). He’s also supplied information for monthly and quarterly reports.
“When you budget, you should separate the needs from the wants. You pay for those things you need before you borrow for anything you want” in spending taxpayer dollars, Petrauskas said.
Teachers are a “need,” while borrowing money to pay for a sports complex is not, in Petrauskas’ view.
“It seems that the county would rather pay for somebody to cut grass than to teach algebra,” Petrauskas said in an email response to questions posed about his candidacy.
The county broke ground earlier this year on the $13.1 million central sports complex; $8.7 million of that amount was financed.
Petrauskas said that the property tax is the biggest concern of people he and his wife talked to as they were gathering signatures to get his name on the ballot.
“We talked to a retired couple on Iron Bit Drive whose property tax went up 20 percent in one year. They are on a fixed income and property taxes are stressing their budget,” Petrauskas said.
The county property tax rate will stay the same during fiscal year 2020, though rising property values will inflate tax bills.
Petrauskas also questioned the fairness of conservation easements, saying they benefit large landowners and shrink the tax base.
(The county website explains that a conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement that allows a landowner to maintain the natural beauty or historic value of his or her property and retain full ownership and care of the land, while conveying some property interest to a qualified organization or government agency. Property owners who donate easements may be eligible for a charitable contribution deduction from their state and/or federal income taxes.)
“In the long run, I’d like to increase the tax burden on businesses and less on homeowners,” Petrauskas said. “The government should help people prosper, not make them poorer.”
McDaniel said she’ll be “running on my record. I look forward to meeting Mr. Petrauskas and debating him during the campaign.”
Regarding the challenge to her re-election, McDaniel said “I always think voters should have a choice.”
She said she’ll have more to say when she launches her re-election, probably in July.
Reach James Ivancic at firstname.lastname@example.org