The Courier-Record

BUDGET BELT-TIGHTENING URGED

Electoral Board, School Division spending criticized
SUPERVISORS SEEK MORE INFO. ON TRAINER FOR REGISTRAR
DIANA MITCHELL Says Americans are paying $730 million more for gas daily

DIANA MITCHELL Says Americans are paying $730 million more for gas daily

Nottoway Supervisors have scheduled a Special Meeting for next Monday night, June 27th, at 6:30 p.m. to consider adoption of a proposed $45.6 million budget that may see a reduction in County Personal Property taxes.

(The meeting originally was set for tomorrow — June 23rd — but the County didn’t meet FOIA public notice requirements due to Monday being a holiday, Juneteenth.)

At last Thursday night’s budget hearing, County Administrator Ted Costin said that due to an unprecedented increase in the value of used cars, he supports lowering the current rate of $3.75 per assessed value to $3.65. He said lowering the rate by 10¢ would provide sufficient excess revenue to increase funding for public safety — two new dispatchers, an additional dispatch shift supervisor, and two additional School Resource Officers.

Costin cautioned Supervisors against lowering the rate further — $3.60 had been discussed — because he said revenue projections are based on 100% collections. Costin said that Nottoway — while strong with collections in the high 90% rates — typically doesn’t reach 100%.

TOM REYNOLDS Electoral Board Sec. says he’s speaking only as ‘citizen and taxpayer’

TOM REYNOLDS Electoral Board Sec. says he’s speaking only as ‘citizen and taxpayer’

The proposed budget includes 5% pay raises for County employees and is balanced by dipping into reserves by $325,000.

Citizen Sonny Abbott said he’s called the State Dept. of Education and was informed that the County’s Required Local Effort and Required Local Match total $4.4 million — nearly a million dollars less than what’s included in the budget. Abbott said he’s asked both the local school division and County staff if he received accurate information from the state DOE and gave both ample time to correct before Thursday’s hearing. No response, Abbott said, suggests his information from the state is accurate.

Abbott questioned the accuracy of the division’s claim that it can’t afford to hire four assistant principals if state funding is cut.

JUDITH LONG Says trainer shouldn’t be needed to ‘hold Registrar’s hand’

JUDITH LONG Says trainer shouldn’t be needed to ‘hold Registrar’s hand’

Abbott was one of several citizens challenging the Electoral Board’s proposal to retain Registrar Trainer Nan Lambert through January at $50 per hour for 20-25 hours per week.

Abbott said that rate is 138% more than what new Registrar Rodney Reynolds is paid. Abbott called Registrar Reynolds, who was hired in December 2021, “a man of integrity…I’m not trying to undermine the Registrar’s budget. I just question the need for this expense as it seems to be asking to pay two people to do the job.”

Those concerns were echoed by Electoral Board Secretary Tom Reynolds (R), who emphasized he was speaking only as a private citizen and taxpayer. Reynolds called the registrar trainer an “absolutely outrageous waste of hard earned taxpayers’ dollars” and said that money would be better spent on public safety. “No other county in our vicinity has supplied a trainer for a Registrar for ANY length of time,” he declared.

TYLER SCOTT Asks Supervisors to “cut spending any way you can”

TYLER SCOTT Asks Supervisors to “cut spending any way you can”

Nottoway Democratic Committee Chairman Thomas Crews of Old Shore Road warned Supervisors that what he predicted last month is proving true — that several in Nottoway are trying to “undermine” the new Registrar and this year’s elections to justify bringing back ex-Registrar Angela Stewart, who was fired last September.

Crews said that Sec. Reynolds earlier this year voted for the Registrar’s draft budget which included continued use of the Registrar’s Trainer.

Sec. Reynolds, however, said that funding wasn’t properly disclosed in Electoral Board budget discussions.

The Registrar himself, Rodney Reynolds (no relation to Sec. Reynolds), expressed disappointment in “misinformation” about his office. “When I look at the way things have gone since I’ve been Registrar, I saw some questionable occurrences. I do not stand here today to label anyone or any entity. Pretty much — it is what it is.”

RODNEY REYNOLDS Voter Registrar says treatment by some here “is what it is”

RODNEY REYNOLDS Voter Registrar says treatment by some here “is what it is”

Registrar Reynolds predicted Supervisors would see through the rhetoric. “I believe you as a Board are very capable of ascertaining and discerning the truth.”

Diana Lynn Wilkins- Mitchell of Blackstone urged officials to hold the line on taxes and to lower personal property as much as possible. She cited increase in gas prices and high inflation. “This is literally a life-or-death decision that requires all of us to tighten our belts.”

She said that if the County were to keep Personal Property as is, it would result in a $1.8 million windfall for the County while residents suffer. “We began our uphill climb with a pandemic and now we’ve moved to a different hill — inflation.”

Mrs. Wilkins-Mitchell then turned to Registrar Reynolds. “I fear our current registrar doesn’t understand his responsibilities and duties…” She said that while he is to serve constituents “regardless of party and without bias,” she alleged that Registrar Reynolds pre-registered 16-year olds at Nottoway School — something she said doesn’t become legal until a new state law takes effect Oct. 1, 2022. She also questioned the need for the continued retention of a Registrar Trainer.

THOMAS CREWS Dem. leader says some are trying to ‘undermine’ Registrar, elections Loud And Clear Several citizens addressed the Nottoway Board of Supervisors last Thursday night during a public hearing on the County’s proposed $45.7 million budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year that begins July 1st. Perhaps the hottest topic was the Electoral Board’s budget, which includes continued employment of a Registrar Trainer at $50 per hour, 20-25 hours per week. Others who addressed Supervisors who aren’t shown here, but appear elsewhere, were Sonny Abbott, who questioned the local dollar amount proposed for Nottoway County Public Schools. Also, Celia Orr-Elzay of Nottoway CAReS urged Supervisors not to delay construction on a planned new animal shelter, which was first proposed in 2018.

THOMAS CREWS Dem. leader says some are trying to ‘undermine’ Registrar, elections Loud And Clear Several citizens addressed the Nottoway Board of Supervisors last Thursday night during a public hearing on the County’s proposed $45.7 million budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year that begins July 1st. Perhaps the hottest topic was the Electoral Board’s budget, which includes continued employment of a Registrar Trainer at $50 per hour, 20-25 hours per week. Others who addressed Supervisors who aren’t shown here, but appear elsewhere, were Sonny Abbott, who questioned the local dollar amount proposed for Nottoway County Public Schools. Also, Celia Orr-Elzay of Nottoway CAReS urged Supervisors not to delay construction on a planned new animal shelter, which was first proposed in 2018.

Tyler Scott of Blackstone reminded Supervisors that the Nottoway Electoral Board is now under investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office. Her remarks focused more on the nature of governments to increase spending. “Please try to cut spending any way you can.” She cited increased inflation and pleaded, “It’s almost like money isn’t real anymore. Well, it’s very real to the taxpayer, and we are about to get hammered.”

Judith Long of Crewe said the Registrar’s voter registration drive this past Saturday (June 18th) was advertised as a day of prayer “and I think you all know that the Registrar isn’t supposed to be dealing with religious matters as a public official.” She also questioned the event’s affiliation with two churches and the serving of refreshments.

Board Chair Lynn Shekleton reminded Ms. Long that the public hearing was for comments on the budget.

Ms. Long continued and said Reynolds is paid $75,000 per year and shouldn’t need a Trainer. “If he’s able to do the job, then let’s let him do it without somebody holding his hand at $50 an hour.”

Ms. Long said the Electoral Board continues to hold daytime meetings which are inconvenient for working people.

She also recalled a conversation she had last year with Blackstone Mayor and editor Billy Coleburn, saying he described an Electoral Board meeting as “the worst meeting he’d ever attended in his life. And he also said he was afraid he’d be having nightmares about that meeting.”

(Coleburn, who wasn’t present Thursday, this week confirmed that he made those comments about the Sunday Voting debate last August. Coleburn said he’s pleased to report that his nightmares thus far have been confined to the status of his golf game. “I also have sweet, far-fetched dreams about shorter, less controversial meetings throughout our county and less animosity.”)

Ms. Long said she wanted to also “throw in” that she’s opposed to solar panels.

Administrator Costin said the County has budgeted $100,000 for Legal Services but staff is taking measures — “a gatekeeper protocol” — to minimize attorneys’ billable hours by using them primarily for redistricting, solar, and zoning issues.

The proposed budget includes $125,000 carryover for courthouse maintenance, funding for a third dispatch room, and $36,716 in local match funds for a grant to expand fuel capacities for generators at the County’s emergency shelters at the elementary schools.

Supervisor Steve Bowen said he’d like more facts about the Registrar Trainer’s hours and role in time for Monday night’s budget adoption.

Supervisor Sherman Vaughn said he’d like to see the Personal Property rate lowered to $3.60, not $3.65. He also reminded colleagues that the Electoral Board handles Electoral Board matters — not the Board of Supervisors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You have 9 more free access views left