Lincoln County school board Treasurer Birdie Gandy said an almost $880,000 cut to the school board's $44.8 million budget could be devastating. If the penalties kick in, "we'd need to look at probably closing some schools and laying off a lot of people," she said.
"There's no way we could function."
Brumfield said he has talked with state tax officials, lawmakers and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's office to see if there's some way state officials can create an exemption for Lincoln County or give the county more time to adjust tax assessments.
"I basically asked them to look at the unique situation we inherited here in Lincoln County," Brumfield said. "We're not saying we're not going to follow state code, just give us time to do it.
"I think that punishing a school board financially because of the success or failure of an assessor is not fair to [school officials]."
Brumfield is now forced with the prospect of raising Lincoln County's tax assessments to 90 percent of market value over the course of a single year. That approach will mean huge tax increases for some property owners.
"I don't know if I have the resources and time to get there," he said.
Brumfield would prefer to spread the tax increases out over three or four years, as he said should have been done after the new law was passed in 2007.
"This storm's been coming for six years, and we haven't even barred the windows," he said.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.