Letter to the Editor: Renovations are needed in Prince Edward

Published 12:04 am Friday, February 2, 2024

In your Dec. 22 edition of The Farmville Herald, I read two letters to the editor criticizing the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors for engaging a lobbyist to aide the County in trying to get legislation passed to allow the citizens of Prince Edward County to decide whether to implement a local $0.01 sales tax for school capital improvements. 

Prince Edward, like many localities in Southside including Buckingham County, where I served as a County Supervisor and Board Chairman, is facing the need to invest heavily in its school division to provide adequate and modern facilities. 

The elementary school renovation alone is projected to cost $40+-plus million. The $0.01 sales tax, if approved, would generate an estimated $3 million per year. To put this in perspective, it would take a $0.17 real estate tax increase to generate that amount of revenue. No one wants to pay more real estate taxes and counties, in my opinion, have relied too heavily on this tax for needed revenue.

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For too long these improvements have been postponed and delayed only resulting in driving the cost up. I applaud the leadership of Prince Edward for looking at alternative revenue streams to fund these needed improvements while trying to balance the tax impact on its citizens.  Investing in lobbying support towards this effort seems like a prudent and wise step and seems to be working so far in Richmond.

Investing in public education goes beyond you and I. It allows for an educated citizenship and general population which leads to better communities, better businesses, and an enlightened course of discussion and thoughts generally.

And let’s be real with each other, a $0.01 sales tax is the least we could pay to invest in public education, namely helping build a new elementary school for our students. I am proud to have voted for historic investments in public education while a county supervisor, and I urge Prince Edward County to do the same.

Thomas Jordan Miles III