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County Government

Carroll County is divided into five magisterial districts. These are known as Pine Creek, Laurel Fork, Fancy Gap, Piper’s Gap, and Sulphur Springs. Each district elects a supervisor for a term of four years, the supervisors then acting together to form the legislative body of the county. Members of this board individually administer the affairs in their respective districts and collectively discharge county affairs. One of the members of the group presides over the body as chairman and the county clerk serves as secretary.

Each district in the county elects three justices of the peace and one overseer of the poor and the county elects a commonwealth attorney, a treasurer, a sheriff, and a commissioner of the revenue for a term of four years. A county engineer also is selected. Like most other Virginia counties, Carroll elects the clerk of the court for a period of eight years. The division superintendent of schools is selected by the county school board from a list of eligibles approved by the State Board of Education.

County Taxes

Rate. The tax rate effective in the county averages $4.12 in the several districts. Some districts have a rate of $4.15 per $100 of assessed value while others have a rate of $4.10. These rates are effective outside the incorporated towns. In Hillsville and Galax, an additional town levy is imposed.

Licenses. The merchants pay the regular state license schedule, which is:

$20.00 for first $2,000 of purchases
.20 per $100 over $2,000 to $100,000.
.10 per $100 over $100,000.

County Receipts and Disbursements. The receipts and disbursements for the fiscal year ending July 1, 1928, were:

County Receipts and Disbursements
Category Expenditures Receipts
County fund $ 54,776.74 $ 51,173.22
County road 16,314.32 14,016.72
Courthouse fund 9,939.09 16,874.25
Robinson act fund 178,032.73 239,313.58
Bond issue fund. 27,085.00 30,677.57
Half cent gas tax fund. 8,420.04 9,343.90
Dog fund 3,926.60 7,477.47
Pine Creek District road 7,849.58 7,408.11
Laurel Fork District road 4,222.45 4,742.52
Fancy Gap District road 6,886.27 10,479.29
Piper’s Gap District road 5,848.92 15,450.29
Sulphur Springs District road 40,597.74 27,704.41
County School fund 58,205.76 50,390.20
State school fund 54,419.62 54,419.62
Total $476,524.86 $539,471.15
Balance   $ 62,946.29

County Indebtedness. The indebtedness of the county is given below:

County Indebtedness
Date of Issue Description Amount Maturity
1922 County bonds $245,000.00 1952
1927 County school bonds 15,000.00 1942
1928 Piper’s Gap road 50,000.00 1958
1928 Pine Creek road 22,500.00 1943
1928 Sulphur Springs road 60,000.00 1958
1928 Fancy Gap road 15,000.00 1958
Total Indebtedness $407,500.00

Health Protection

Organization.-The county has a health board composed of three local physicians. There is no county nurse nor health officer at the present time. The board enforces quarantine regulations and recommends sanitary measures.

****Vital Statistics.-Figures showing births, deaths, and marriages with the rates are given below. The situation in the county is compared with the condition in the state as:

Vital Statistics
Year Carroll County State of Virginia
Births Birth Rate Births Birth Rate
1921 761 35.91 70,299 29.85
1922 710 33.29 64,992 27.39
1923 613 28.73 64,603 26.94
1924 735 33.94 64,692 26.70
1925 636 29.72 61,459 24.62
1926 607 28.36 58,085 23.06
1927 618 28.88 58,232 22.87

The deaths in the county for 1927 were 186, or a rate of 8.70 per 1,000 population. In the same year there were 28,730 deaths in the state at a rate of 11.28 per 1,000 population. The total population of Carroll County in 1927, as given by the Department of Health, was 21,400. There were 174 marriages, a rate of 8.13 as compared with the state rate of 8.81. The same year there were 5 divorces or a rate of .23 per 1,000 population in comparison with the state rate of 1.18 per 1,000 population.

Banking Facilities

There are six banking houses located in Carroll County including the two situated in the town of Galax. Two banks are located in Hillsville, one at Laurel Fork, and one at Sylvatus. Each section of the area is within reasonable distance of a banking institution. The banks range in resources from $100,000 to approximately $800,000. A consolidated statement of the banks of Carroll County and the town of Galax as of March 28, 1929, is:

Banking Facilities
Bank Capital Resources Deposits Surplus and
First National Bank (Galax) $ 50,000.00 $ 798,102.12 $ 655.193.27 $ 54,120.20
Citizens Bank of Carroll (Hillsville) 33,000.00 622,402.79 517.800.69 61,7666.27
Peoples State Bank (Galax) 50,000.00 580,323.87 418,097.73 36.000.00
Farmers Bank, Inc. (Hillsville) 19,300.00 283,291.13 244,791.63 13,741.78
Laurel Fork Bank (Laurel Fork) 20,000.00 145,857.22 81,682.92 15,335.15
Sylvatus Bank, Inc.(Sylvatus) 20,000.00 103,594.06 66.744.26 16,170.41
Total $192,300.00 $2,533,571.19 $1,984,310.50 $197,073.81


Local Government. Hillsville is governed according to the mayor-council plan. Five council members are elected for a term of two years. No special industrial legislation or designation of building zones is now in force.


Rate. The town imposes a tax of $1.00 per $100 on real estate and tangible personalty. This is in addition to the district taxes. Four magisterial districts meet in the town, the tax in these districts varying from $4.10 to $4.15 per $100 assessed valuation, or an average rate of $4.12.

Licenses.-The license on merchants’ capital is:

Category Amount
For amounts not exceeding $1,000 $ 7.50
For amounts not exceeding $2,000 $10.00
For amounts not exceeding $5,000 $15.00

The license schedule outlined below applies to those doing business within the corporate limits:

License Schedule
Category Amount Category Amount
Opticians $5.00 Dentists $5.00
Hotels $7.50 Automobiles $3.50
Restaurants $5.00 Auctioneers $2.50
Lawyers $5.00 Poll tax $1.00
Doctors $5.00

Bonded Debt.-Hillsville has no bonded debt at the present time. Total budgetary expenses each year amount to approximately $1,500.

Real Estate Values

The basis of real estate assessment is estimated to be about 10 per cent. of its fair market value. Real estate values in the town are practically at a standstill, with only slight increases in some cases.

Fire Protection

Equipment.-Fire-fighting equipment is meager. None is publicly owned, the only apparatus at hand being privately owned chemical extinguishers of small capacity. There is no fire-fighting organization or fire hydrants, thus necessitating fourth class insurance rates.

Police Protection

The local force consists of a town sergeant who is assisted by the county sheriff and his deputies. Records consist of a receipt book on fines. For traffic control, no automatic signals have been found necessary, street markings serving the purpose.

Health Protection

Matters affecting the health of the community are in charge of a health board composed of three local physicians who enforce quarantine regulations and recommend sanitary measures. Good sanitary conditions in the community and the excellent health record attest the worthy manner in which the health officials are discharging their duties. There is at present no town nurse and no county nurse or health officer.

Housing Conditions

Houses and Ownership. About 75 of the 100 houses in the town are owned and the other 25 rented.

Rents The best residence property brings a monthly rental of $20 to $40 and the less desirable brings $10 to $15 per month. The best business property rents for $100 per month and the less desirable for $35.


Local Government. The municipal government of Galax is modeled according to the council-manager plan. A mayor and six council members are elected for a term of two years and the town manager is appointed by the council. The affairs of the town are managed in an efficient manner as indicated by the well kept and orderly appearance of the community. No regulations in the nature of industrial legislation are now in force, other than provisions for a fire limit zone extending four blocks square in the main section of town. The law requires that construction in any of these 16 blocks must be of fire resisting material.

Birdseye View of Galax


Rate The tax on real estate and tangible personal property is fixed at $8.50 per $100 of assessed valuation. The same rate is in force on machinery and tools, as no discrimination has been made to date.

Licenses. The merchants pay the following license schedule which is one-half of the rate charged by the state

$10.00 for the first $2,000 purchases
.10 for each additional $100 of purchases

Bonded Indebtedness. The outstanding bonded indebtedness of Galax is $315,000. There are eleven issues of bonds; four issues run for a period of 20 years and seven for a period of 30 years. The legal limit on the bonded indebtedness is represented by 18 per cent. of the assessed valuation of real estate. The town is still within its bonding limit and as the town continues to grow and real estate values increase, new issues can be floated for other public improvements. The bonded debt is itemized below:

Bonded Indebtedness
Description Rate Term Maturity Amount
Water Supply 6% 20 years Feb. 1, 1927 $ 30,000.00
Water Supply 6% 20 years June 15, 1948 15,000.00
Municipal Building Improvements 6% 20 years June 15, 1948 15,000.00
School Improvement 6% 20 years June 15, 1948 10,000.00
Permanent Street Improvement 6% 30 years Aug. 1,1952 75,000.00
Water Supply 6% 30 years Aug. 1,1952 25,000.00
Street Improvement 6% 30 years May 1, 1953 50,000.00
Water Supply 6% 30 years May 1, 1953 25.000.00
Street Improvement 6% 30 years Nov. 1, 1953 30,000.00
School Improvement 6% 30 years June 1,1955 25,000.00
General Improvement 6% 30 years June 1, 1955 15,000.00
Total $315,000.00

The total budget for the year ending December 31, 1928, was $69,150.65.

Real Estate Values

Real estate is assessed at seven to ten per cent. of its fair market value. This basis of valuation is considerably lower than that which obtains in most Virginia towns. Galax is growing steadily and real estate values are increasing. Its industrial development has been exceptional in the past fifteen years and this largely accounts for the upward trend in prices.

The more desirable residence property ranges in price from $10,000 to $15,000, the less desirable from $1,000 to $4,000, with an average price of approximately $5,000.

Fire Protection

Equipment Fire fighting equipment consists of one combination hose, hook and ladder truck, and one truck equipped with chemical extinguishers. This equipment is used by an adequately trained volunteer company of 45 men.

Hydrants. The town owns 75 hydrants and various factories own six, making a total of 81 hydrants with a pressure of 88 pounds at street level.

The town has fourth class insurance rates. These rates, it is presumed, were allotted before adequate protection was available. Now that improved conditions exist, Galax deserves a higher rating and should be able to meet requirements for such.

Police Protection

Law and order is maintained by three officers, including one police chief and two special officers. Their duties afford both night and day protection. No automatic traffic signals are in use, traffic control being by means of street markings.

Health Protection

Galax has its own board of health composed of three local physicians and the mayor, but employs no nurse at the present time. The local board enforces sanitary and quarantine regulations.

The town is located at an average elevation of 2,500 feet, and is by reason of such elevation and its location, a healthful community. The death rate in the town over the last ten year period is lower than the county rate of 8.64 and the state rate of 10.08 for 1927.

Housing Conditions

Houses A recent count places the number of homes in Galax at 600. Of these, approximately 60 per cent. are occupied by owners and 40 per cent. are rented.

The rapid industrial development has brought steady expansion of the residential districts. Aside from this cause for increase in the number of residences, Galax is becoming better known and more widely recognized as a health resort and ideal residential community.

Rents The best residence property rents for $45 per month and the less desirable for $15 to $20 per month. The best business property brings a monthly rental of $100, and the less desirable, of $25 to $50.

Banking Facilities

There are two banks and one loan corporation in the town. The First National Bank was established in 1907, and the Blair Banking Company, established 1904, was merged into the Peoples State Bank in 1912. Both institutions have a record of sound business and steady growth. A more recent financial concern is the Mountain Loan Corporation. The favorable attitude of all three toward industrial financing is reflected in the rapid but substantial industrial development of the town. Statements of the two banks are included in the consolidated statement for the county.


**** Statistics compiled from the annual report, State Department of Health, for the year ending June 30, 1928.