BEDFORD, Va. – A town council room packed full of angry residents didn’t stop Bedford leaders from moving forward with an annexation plan.
About a decade ago, Bedford leaders wanted to revert to a town. On Tuesday night, leaders joined the Bedford County Board of Supervisors to come to an agreement.
Phase II of the agreement doesn’t go into effect until July 1. In Phase II, however, hundreds of county residents will fall under the town’s jurisdiction. This means they’ll have to start paying the town’s taxes on top of the county taxes they are already paying.
Several people at Tuesday’s town council meeting say they didn’t even know of the decision a decade ago. In fact, people like Carlton Toms have lived in the county way before the decision even was made.
“Never really wanted to live in the town. Built my house intentionally outside the town so I wouldn’t live in the town,” Toms said.
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.
Councilman Robert Carson says many people have been rude to him throughout the process.
“I heard you talk about taxes. I heard you talk about your hardships but what I haven’t heard anybody is those people with hardships that have been paying these taxes for years,” Carson said.
Carson’s remarks were immediately followed by John Ketwig who says his parents won’t be able to pay the new burden of taxes.
“My parents never came up to your house or cussed you out. They’re 88 years old and 87 years old and suffering from dementia. So I respect your opinion but you need to respect my parents too,” Ketwig said.
The vote was almost unanimous with just Bruce Hartwick voting against.