Pittsylvania County 1% sales tax increase will be on November ballot

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:47 PM EDT
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PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A 1% sales tax increase referendum will be on the ballot for Pittsylvania County November 8.

The referendum will be on the ballot again this year after losing last year by 14 votes.

The projected $50 million worth of revenue from the increase may only be used to fund construction and renovations for Pittsylvania County schools.

“Most of the schools have some age on them and they’re in dire need of repairs. So, not only are you looking at fixing up our schools, but we’re also looking at giving our teachers and our children a nice, comfortable facility by which to facilitate education,” said Vic Ingram, chairman for the Pittsylvania County board of Supervisors.

They say improving safety is the number one priority of the sales tax increase.

“It’s critical because if you look at the times in which we live, evil is everywhere,” added Ingram. “Sadly, a tragedy could happen here as easy as it could happen in Texas or California or Florida. So, to improve our schools by way of safety is paramount.”

Double entrances will be added to all schools, similar to the one Gretna Elementary has.

“That creates an additional barrier for our schools to get into to allow for us to really monitor access to our buildings. Currently, every door at our buildings is locked and exterior doors are locked so people can’t get in. Our classroom doors now are locked. So, we do have a lot of safety precautions in place. The sales tax referendum will allow us to greatly enhance the safety features in our building,” said Mark Jones, Pittsylvania County superintendent.

26 trailers from elementary schools that are currently being used as classrooms will also be removed, adding 38 new classrooms.

”If students were to get sick, or have to go use the restroom from the mobile unit, then they have to leave the mobile unit, go back outside and come back into the building,” said Jones. “So that’s a safety concern and supervision concern for our staff.”

The sales tax would be on everything except food, medicine and agricultural products targeted toward the production of food.

“It has to come out of the county budget one way or the other,” said Ingram. “So, the way we look at it is, we will let other people who don’t live here who are just passing through help us pay for our school renovations and improvements.”

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