Officials meet representative

Published 1:22 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Members of the Lunenburg County Chamber of Commerce spoke with a representative of Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett, R-Virginia, during a meeting held last Tuesday at the Lunenburg County Administrative Office.

Matthew Becker, outreach director, represented Garrett between 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Lunenburg County Administrative Office. The event was open to the public, and Chamber President Mel Payne, Chamber Vice President Mike Hankins and Chamber Member Leroy Marshall attended the meeting.

During the meeting, Becker, Payne, Hankins and Marshall discussed issues relating to receiving grants and creating revenue for the county and for schools through job creation and other opportunities.

Hankins described a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that was denied to Lunenburg County Public Schools that would have provided funds for the division to purchase two new school buses because the division’s current buses have no usable life left.

“We really wasted the schools’ money, because the EPA was not forthcoming in what they were looking for in this grant,” Hankins said. “The school system and Commonwealth Regional Council both looked at this as replacing school buses that needed to be replaced, and what the EPA is looking at are good school buses in good running order that people could replace because they want to get a more energy efficient school bus.”

Becker said he and Garrett could look into the situation.

“Can’t make sense of that one for you,” Becker said. “But that is the kind of stuff we can try to start trying to look at.”

“I can talk to him about that,” Becker said, referring to Garrett. “I have seen that a lot of times the grants just, it misses the mark.”

Regarding concerns of the Lunenburg County population, Payne asked Becker if other counties are having the same struggles.

“Our county is seeing businesses close, our population itself, of the county is decreasing,” Payne said. “Are neighboring counties like Nottoway going through the same thing?”

Becker said the issue of students or other members of the population leaving the area was a common trend. “That problem is a large part of the southern part of the fifth district,” Becker said. “I think Brunswick is facing similar. I think Mecklenburg is doing pretty well.”

Becker said laughing that he had not seen many people during the public office hours.

“I’m glad you are all here,” Becker said.