With just under a week left in 2013, it’s officially time to reflect on the year that was and the year about to be.
We have reason to be optimistic in 2014. As we reported last week, housing prices are starting to trend upward from the bottom they hit in the housing crisis. For some, this will mean their tax bill to the county is going up, but overall, we’ll take this as good news.
At the least, increased revenue should begin to start trickling in, making up for several years of declining budgets and services. While we have yet to see any draft budgets – that cycle starts in the coming months – we hope that county decision-makers will take the new assessments into consideration when planning ahead for what Hanover will be able to afford in the coming fiscal year.
Housing is also often looked to as an overarching indicator for employment and the economy as a whole. If values are on the rise in Hanover, that should mean that citizens are gainfully employed and earning enough to pay the mortgage on one of the county’s “average” $317,000 homes.
Over the past year, Virginians were barraged with campaign ads leading up to November. When the ball drops into 2014, Democrats will have regained the state’s top three posts: governor, lt. governor and attorney general. While the results of two special elections to fill the state senate seats of Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam and Attorney General-elect Mark Herring will decide the distribution of power in that chamber, more than likely, Democrats will control everything but the house, where Republicans still hold a comfortable majority.
The General Assembly will have to work through a new power arrangement while working on approving the next two-year budget, outgoing Gov. Bob McDonnell’s last gift to the commonwealth.
We aren’t optimistic the upcoming session will be very productive. But, Hanover County has some new blood in the legislature, and we wish Del.-elect Buddy Fowler the best as he makes the transition from behind the scenes to casting votes.