Lunenburg supervisors support seeking more lottery funds

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors voted to support a proposal to have a portion of lottery sales returned to the general fund of the localities where the sales originated.

Supervisors voted to support the proposal by their Nottoway County counterparts during Lunenburg’s Thursday meeting.

And, though they voted to support it, members of the board said they don’t expect the proposal to be adopted by the state.

“If it does pass, I guarantee you they’ll find a way to get the money back,” Supervisor Robert Zava said.

Earlier this month, Nottoway officials asked their Lunenburg counterparts to support a proposal to have a portion of lottery sales returned to the general fund of the localities where the sales originated.

The proposal calls for an allocation of 5-percent of total lottery sales to be returned.

The petition, signed by the mayors of the towns of Crewe, Burkeville and Blackstone and the chairman of the Nottoway County Board of Supervisors, is addressed to Sen. Frank Ruff and Del. Tommy Wright Jr.

“It is envisioned the allocation will be culled from total sales and subtracted from the portion of the lottery pool designated as the ‘prize pool’ (approximately 60.6 percent of sales.) In this way, the public school funding allocation (approximately 29 percent of sales) is untouched,” the petition states. “No monies are diverted from public education by our formula.”

“The revenue infusion a ‘Lottery for Localities’ can provide to local governments will have a positive impact for cash- strapped rural counties facing an ever shrinking business and community tax base while demands for public services rise,” the letter stated. “We feel this is a discussion that needs to be initiated across the commonwealth with local governments and state officials.”

By returning the funds based on sales and not per capita “we, in the locality, only see a percentage of what we generated in our localities,” the letter stated.

Del. James Edmunds has already said he supports the effort, noting, “It’s going to help every county in rural Virginia.”

The letter to the localities states that this undertaking should be seen as a bipartisan effort to benefit taxpayers and local governments regardless of size and population, and that its supporters are open to a constructive dialogue and suggestions on “how to make this concept a reality.”

Lunenburg County Administrator Tracy Gee noted lottery officials have said the change might reduce lottery purchases, but, “I don’t think it would deter people from buying lottery tickets.”

Earlier in the week, Victoria town council members decided to wait and see what the supervisors and the Kenbridge town council will do before taking a stand.

“We’ll just wait … to see what everybody else is going to do,” Mayor Carol Watson said.

Interim Town Manager Rodney Newton said that if the three localities agree they could create one petition of support instead of three.