Lynchburg officials, citizens react to proposed city budget

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg homeowners will be paying less in real estate taxes, after a new rate of 89 cents was approved by the City Council on Tuesday night, and some are reacting to what this could mean for the proposed budget.

“What we did yesterday was set the real estate tax rate at 89 cents‚” Lynchburg City Council member Jeff Helgeson said. “Historically, it’s been at $1.11 for far too long.”

Meanwhile, during the public hearing, some voiced concerns about what less taxpayer revenue could mean for city departments, such as education.

“We really going to tell teachers that their salary for next year don’t even cover a cost of living adjustment,” one citizen said during public comment. “We ask City Council and the City Manager’s office to go back to the drawing board and do better.”

“For far too long the educational bureaucracy has just wanted more money that went to the administration,” Helgeson said.

Another topic of concern for some was how much money will go to law enforcement.

Attorney General Jason Miyares released a statement criticizing the council Tuesday saying cutting law enforcement funds will put citizens at risk.

“Virginia’s crime wave has not spared Lynchburg, it is one of my office’s Ceasefire Cities,” Miyares said.

Meanwhile, Helgeson and a few other council members said public safety cuts are not coming.

“We’re going to focus the extra revenue actually on public safety, where everyone has campaigned on and said that’s a concern,” Helgeson said.

Helgeson said the Lynchburg City Council will continue working on the budget in coming weeks, with the final vote expected around June.

About the Author:

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.