The Bedford County Board of Supervisors will consider raising the county's real estate tax by three cents. But residents don't want any part of it.
The real estate tax in Bedford County is currently 50 cents per $100 of assessed value. If the three-cent increase is approved, the real estate tax jumps to 53 cents.
Taxpayers and county leaders are divided, but they say taxes are a necessary evil.
Bedford County residents watched as the board of supervisors hashed out details of a proposed property tax hike.
"The money that we take in here, stays here," said one of the supervisors during the 2.5 hour meeting Wednesday night.
The board is considering upping real estate taxes by three cents; bringing it to 53 cents per $100 of assessed value. Board chairman John Sharp says that's the highest possible increase, and that figure could even decrease once the board votes later this spring.
"I can tell you that this was not an easy decision, not one that I personally took lightly," Sharp said.
But despite that sentiment, residents aren't taking the news well.
"The problems that the county has right now are a complete disaster. We don't need raises for taxes," one Bedford County resident told Your Hometown News Leader.
Supervisors say the county needs several big ticket items.
"Fire and rescue apparatus. Solid waste, which is basically trash. And we have to build a school," Sharp told WDBJ7.
Another revenue option to pay for those projects, besides an across the board tax increase, is a fee system paid per year, per property owned over a limited period of time.
"We would collect a fee specifically earmarked for the landfill for the next few years and then that fee would go away. And a fee related to fire apparatus," Sharp said.
"It's easier to pay an extra $10 in May or June and then another $10 in December than it is to know that that whopping big tax bill is going to hit you," Bedford County resident Ann Briscoe said.
The situation remains fluid but residents hope the county will focus on its needs, not its wants.
The public will get their chance to weigh in on this. A public hearing is scheduled for April 7 at the Bedford Science and Technology Center starting at 7:30 p.m.