“[Durant] must do this, to support not only our region, but everyone,” said Stafford Supervisor Meg Bohmke, who is also president of the Virginia Association of Counties. “It is a state problem. That’s a lot of money for each of those respective jurisdictions.
Durant said localities were given no notice or opportunity to respond to lawmakers’ decision two years ago, forcing some county officials to scramble to find other sources of funding to pay expected obligations.
In the case of Stafford, the loss of funds had a direct impact on the county’s plans to fund debt service for the $50 million road bond referendum approved by Stafford voters in November 2019. This referendum included major construction projects throughout the county, as well as numerous road widenings. projects and other road safety improvements.
“That’s why last year you saw an increase in your personal property tax and in Stafford County there was a pretty strong comeback on that,” Durant said.
Durant said localities are required to spend the money on building, maintaining and improving transportation, as well as managing and administering those projects. The money can also be used for public education.
Durant frequently cited Fredericksburg Regions’ loss of funds and its impact on his future voters during his campaign trail last year and noted that his opponent, Democrat Del. Joshua Cole, had voted in favor of Askews’ bill. She said her new bill, co-sponsored by Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart, would restore funds to all localities in the state, at no cost to Hampton Roads.