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Lynchburg City Council to discuss moving voting precinct

Lynchburg City Council to discuss moving voting precinct

The proposal to move the Ward IV polling place at the Elks Lodge will be put to a public hearing Tuesday.

The Lynchburg Electoral Board has recommended moving the location to Cornerstone Community Church on Old Graves Mill Road.

The change, if approved, would affect voters in Ward IV’s first precinct, which includes neighborhoods like Wyndhurst and Richland Hills.

The electoral board’s recommendation was prompted by repeated complaints about a heavy smell of smoke at the Elks Lodge, a private club that allows indoor smoking.

Electoral board chairman John Falcone said some voters have allergies or heightened sensitivities to smoke that must be considered.

The Elks Lodge served Ward IV voters well for years, he said, and the city thanked it for its service.

“This is nothing derogatory against the Elks Lodge in any way,” Falcone said.

The electoral board vetted Cornerstone Community Church, a large church built about three years ago, and recommended it for the new polling place.

Lynchburg City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 7:30 p.m. today in City Hall, 900 Church St.

Council may vote on the matter immediately after the hearing. If passed, the new location will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for final approval per the requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The electoral board hopes to begin using the church in November’s elections.

In Other News

- The city’s Water Resources Department proposes to increase its monthly service charge by $2 starting July 1.

For the first time in recent memory, both the water and sewer rates would remain unchanged. But the new revenue generated by the service charge increase would be comparable to that created by past rate hikes.

The monthly service charge is a flat fee applied to all Lynchburg utility customers’ bills to pay for fixed costs like meter reading, billing and debt repayment.

The charge has not been raised in more than 20 years and does not cover current costs, according to Water Resources.

If the increase is approved, the new monthly charge will be $5.69 for residential lines. It will amount to a 3.35 percent increase in an average homeowner’s monthly bills, according to the department.

The utility rate proposal will be presented to council during a 4 p.m. work session Tuesday and scheduled for a public hearing next month.

- In anticipation of the sizeable debt looming for Heritage High School, the city proposes to change its financial policies and extend its proscribed payment schedule.

Under current policies, the city has to repay 60 percent of every bond issuance within 10 years.

Under the new policy submitted for council approval Tuesday, that deadline would be extended to 15 years.

Finance Director Donna Witt said the move was recommended by the city’s financial advisors to build in more leeway as Lynchburg gears up to borrow tens of millions to revamp Heritage High.

The city’s financial policies have been conservative, Witt said, and this more lenient provision still would be acceptable to lenders.

The Heritage High overhaul is being studied and a budget hasn’t been adopted yet, but it’s expected to carry a hefty price tag.

Contact Alicia Petska at (434) 385-5542 or

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