Transparency News, 1/5/21


 January 5, 2021
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state & local news stories
A turnover audit revealed the King William Treasurer’s Office had $14.4 million in uncollected real estate and personal property taxes dating back to 2000. Of that, $3.4 million remains uncollected, according to a county official. According to the report, the amount of uncollected taxes dates back several years and has grown exponentially over time. Following the Dec. 5 tax deadline, the total amount of taxes uncollected is about $3.4 million. The audit took place in September and included uncollected taxes from 2020. The audit also showed the county’s general ledger had not been adequately maintained. While the finance department and the Treasurer’s Office have designated codes to input in the system, the Treasurer’s Office also uses its own codes to signify where funds are appropriated. As a result, the auditing firm found it difficult to understand and recommended it be cleaned up to ensure accuracy.
Tidewater Review

Charlottesville has temporarily suspended its search for a city manager to evaluate “next steps to stabilize the organization,” the City Council said in a statement Monday. Last month, the city signed a $42,500 contract with Ralph Andersen & Associates of Rocklin, California, to find a successor to former City Manager Tarron Richardson. At least one high-ranking official has criticized the search firm’s early moves, according to emails provided by the city to activist Tanesha Hudson. Those emails were obtained through a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
The Daily Progress

Citing concerns about the rise in Coronavirus cases the Tazewell County Board of Supervisors has canceled its Jan. 12 meeting.County Administrator Eric Young’s office released a statement Jan. 4 saying the action was based on an informal poll of the board members.  Young, County Attorney Chase Collins and other members of the county staff have dealt with the virus in recent days.
Richlands News-Press


editorials & columns
This is a societal illness that will linger for years, perhaps decades. I am referring to civic information secrecy, not COVID-19. After nearly a year of worldwide restrictions intended to thwart the coronavirus, we have continued to witness increased government secrecy, from delays and closures of health records to restricted access to elected officials’ decision-making discussions. If we have learned anything from significant human events in history, we can expect this secrecy to continue, at some level, long after the pandemic ends.
David Cuillier, NFOIC