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Senator Plans Town Meeting on Land Values

Sept. 30, 2005 – Sen. Craig W. Barshinger will host a town meeting at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, on St. John to discuss "The Perils of Rapid Development on St. John." The meeting will take place at the Westin Resort.
"The face of St. John is changing fast," Barshinger said Friday. "We're going to look at what's good, what's bad and what we can do about it."
Barshinger said land speculation and skyrocketing property taxes may soon force many local St. Johnians out of their homes, especially those who may feel they have no choice but to sell to developers to pay accumulating taxes.
"It's sad, but the reality is many of the young St. Johnians now growing up may not be able to own a home on St. John in the future unless we do something about it," Barshinger said.
The agenda will include an opportunity for the public to speak about pressing issues in the community and a discussion about land tax, opportunities and access.
Tax Assessor Roy Martin and other representatives from the offices of the lieutenant governor and delegate to Congress will be on hand to discuss the issues. Delegate Donna Christensen will be present if her schedule permits.
Barshinger also will introduce his land improvement tax bill to the public to get suggestions. The bill, currently before legal counsel of the V.I. Legislature, would replace the current property tax laws with an improvement tax. Instead of taxing land, improvements to the land would be taxed. In this way, land held for agricultural purposes would not be taxed, nor land held for future generations.

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