Rising health care costs and increased state-mandated contributions to the Virginia Retirement System have added to budget problems in Bedford County. But on Monday, the public was heard –as residents came out in droves to speak out against a proposed real estate tax increase. Sources say the county proposal would mark its first tax increase in more than a decade. The board will approve a final budget on April 14th. The 53-cent rate can be lowered but not raised without another advertisement.