Death of a Town


They're really dedicated to shrinking government in Russell County, Virginia–shrinking it right out of existence.

The coal-mining town of Castlewood, population 2,800, formally voted itself into oblivion in November, by a 749-622 vote. The town was created out of unincorporated county land six years ago. The residents were aswim in promises of new sewer systems and new industry.

Instead, they got new taxes–real estate taxes, utility taxes, hotel taxes, meal taxes. When residents got the bill for the new taxes that came with the new township–around $400,000 last year–they rebelled. Last spring they elected a mayor and town council dedicated to eliminating their own jobs, and the town itself.

The new town government began refunding $88,000 worth of taxes and spearheaded the referendum on dissolution for the town. The vote now has to be ratified by a county judge and the state legislature.

While Castlewood was small in population, its 8,900 acres of mostly pasture land made it Virginia's second largest city in area.