BEDFORD, Va. – Changes are coming to Bedford, and some aren’t happy.
Town leaders say because of a deal with the county, areas of land that were part of the county will now become part of the town.
Fred Heptinstall bought property in Bedford County about five years ago.
“I was shocked, because I had no idea that was in the works,” Hepinstall said.
Like many county residents, he got a letter explaining that his property would fall under the town’s jurisdiction on July 1.
“My reaction was, ‘Wow, what can we do to keep this from happening?’,” Heptinstall said.
Residents in county areas will now have to pay additional fees to the town, and that’s not sitting well with some residents.
“No one likes to be taxed excessively, we just feel paying one tax is enough,” Hazel Vance, a resident, said.
Another resident wanted to know what services they are getting with the increased taxes.
“In many cases, there are residents to the area who will be paying for the services they’ve been receiving, tangible things,” Bedford Town Manager Bart Warner said. “Like police coverage and response which we’ve been providing.”
Warner also mentioned some residents would see sewer improvements, fire services, and street maintenance. He said while some residents are upset about the boundary adjustment, this has been in the works for nearly ten years.
Warner said in 2013, the City of Bedford and the county agreed to a deal when Bedford City leaders wanted to revert to a town.
The leaders waived its right to annex portions for about 15 years as part of the deal.
“The first phase was taken immediately back in 2013, the second phase is scheduled to take place of July first this year,” Warner said.
The second phase includes the green area on the map, roughly 2,000 acres.
Town leaders said the population would increase by 1,000, and the size would increase to nearly 8 square miles. Leaders said the purpose of the annexation is to make it more attractive for growth and new and existing businesses.
“Most of these areas we’re talking about are adjacent to the town in such a way they can’t be accessed otherwise, we did ask council to make sure we do want to proceed with this council voted to affirm,” Warner said.