Lunenburg County eyes revision to budget after requests

Lunenburg County Supervisors are expected to make a decision on some revised budget requests during their meeting this coming Thursday, May 9. There will also be a discussion and possible vote on the overall budget itself. 

The nonprofit STEPS group was one of several that had asked for funds this year. In a revised request, group officials are asking Lunenburg County to contribute $25,000 toward their operations in this budget. Each of the four smaller counties STEPS serves, including Lunenbug, are being asked for $25,000, instead of the $21,500 normally given. Prince Edward, meanwhile, is being asked for $100,000 and Nottoway is being asked for $75,000 to help fund operations. That adds up to $275,000 combined from the six counties. 

“Last year, Lunenburg’s percentage of shelter usage was 10%, but it has been lower in the other years,” said Shawn Rozier. He works as vice president of housing for STEPS. In a statement to the board of supervisors, he asked for this money as just a one-time payment, saying while they use less of the group’s services, each of the six counties still has need of the shelter. 

“The smaller counties certainly do utilize a smaller amount of the homeless services, but the amount of support for the construction costs for the project should also be meaningfully substantial,” he wrote. 

Now with the smaller amount of funding per county, Rozier told Lunenburg Supervisors there would have to be a limit on how many county residents STEPS could assist at a given time. 

“We received feedback that based on the smaller amounts of funding, a maximum number of units per county needs to be established,” Rozier wrote. 

For a 60 unit facility, that translates into six units each for the smaller counties, in this proposal. That means between the four smaller counties, including Lunenburg, they would only have a total of 24 beds available. The remaining 36 would be split between Prince Edward and Nottoway. 

Other requests for Lunenburg County 

There are several other requests in the proposed budget from various departments and non-profit groups. For example, the Lunenburg County Sheriff’s Office budget would increase by $75,000 in this budget. That would help fund two extra road deputy positions, which Sheriff Arthur Townsend has explained is a need. With the two positions, there would only be one four-hour window in the early morning hours that doesn’t have a deputy on patrol. The rest of the shifts would be covered.

Another increase in this budget would come from Crossroads Community Service. As a rule, Crossroads is required to request 10% of their budget from member counties. Their overall budget has gone up, so their request to Lunenburg includes an additional $6,000. A total of 14.2% of Crossroads services went to Lunenburg residents of the past year. 

Piedmont Senior Resources asked for $16,445. Over the last year, PSR officials say they’ve helped 516 clients, provided 12,510 meals and staffers conducted more than 700 hours of community service over the last year. 

Currently, the real estate tax rate in Lunenburg is 38 cents per $100 of assessed value. The board of supervisors agreed last month to reduce that, dropping it down to 33 cents per $100. And yet, that doesn’t mean the tax bills will drop. This year’s real estate assessment found that property values increased 27% in Lunenburg County, rising to $1,213,946,300 compared to $954,775,100 in 2023. As a result, despite the lower tax rate, the bills will be higher and the county will see more revenue. Specifically, Lunenburg will bring in an additional $377,877 at a rate of 33 cents per $100. 

The discussion on this will take place on Thursday, May 9 at the Lunenburg County Courts Building, 160 Courthouse Square.