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Many needs, less money

SoVaNow.com / February 08, 2018


Halifax County supervisors fielded $4 million in new budget requests Monday with little prospect of coming up with the money to pay for them all.

It would take an 11 cent increase in the county’s real estate tax rate to pay for all of the items, said J.T. Davis, chair of the supervisors’ finance committee.

“We’ve got to pare this down,” added Board chairman Dennis Witt.

Over the two-hour length of a committee meeting Monday afternoon, the funding requests from county agencies and departments kept coming.

Of the $4 million in requested new funding, $2,530,794 was sought by the school division. The remainder, $1,473,595, was requested by the heads of other departments of county government.

The request for school funding was not broken out into specific requests. School officials have promised a detailed explanation of funding needs.

Other major requests include:

» $326,618 for the operation of Blue Ridge Regional Jail. Halifax County pays a per diem rate for local inmates in the system, and costs are rising with the large number of inmates who are incarcerated locally although they have been sentenced to state prison. Davis and Witt complained about the state leaving inmates in local facilities and suggested local legislators should take up the issue in the General Assembly.

» The Halifax County Rescue Squad is seeking $261,625 for additional personnel. Squad member Roy Mason told supervisors that the local rescue squad currently has 12 field staffers, with two others including himself manning the office. The rescue squad received 4,000 calls during the past year with an average of 10-12 calls per day.

Members work four shifts and take calls from all across the county, with only the Turbeville and North Halifax Volunteer Fire Departments also offering ambulance services.

“We’ve got to have some help,” said Mason, who noted it has become increasingly difficult to attract new volunteers. He said a recent advertisement for volunteers drew no interest.

Mason pointed out that the squad has only three ways to get paid for its services: by charging private insurance, or Medicaid and Medicare, or by collecting donations. Those funding sources cover less than 50 percent of the cost of services, and the shortfall is creating tremendous stress on the operation.

A new ambulance costs $280,000. (The squad has three on the road). Mason said any financial help that supervisors can provide will help the rescue squad retain its employees and hopefully enable it to hire additional personnel while cutting down on emergency response times.

“I worry how long it might take us to get to Virgilina or Clover” the way things are headed, he said.

» Sheriff Fred Clark is also asking for a $224,895 increase in the upcoming year’s budget. With a department of between 35-38 employees, Clark said he needs three more fulltime deputies to oversee the large county. He also asked for $25,000 more for part-time salaries, and he wants to add a TAC Team to respond to risky and complicated crime situations.

» Also seeking more money are county fire departments ($39,600 in additional funding), offices of the Treasurer and Commissioner of Revenue ($17,704 and $31,269, respectively), voter registrar ($13,500) and the Assessment Office ($34,760). This is a year for re-assessment of real property.

» Non-departmental requests include $6,500 that the county currently provides to support the YMCA. The Prizery has asked for an additional $5,000, as has the Legal Aid Society.

The finance panel will meet again on Feb. 15 to continue working on a draft budget to present to supervisors at their March 5 regular monthly meeting.

The 2018-19 budget takes effect July 1, and runs through June 30, 2019.



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Comments

1. Schools should only be level funded period!
2. Rescue Squad needs no money. Problem with not getting vol. are the people running it. They fired people a few years back that were excellent members. At the time they had quite a bit of money in the bank. Get new blood and get rid of the clicks.
3.Sheriff's office does not need 38 people. Look how many brand new suv's etc they got now. Keep them level funded.
4. All other requests should be level funded until court house is paid for.
If I was on the finance committee I would request 10% cuts across the board.

Comments

agree allpoliticial.
here is where the County bleeds its shrinking tax base.
The deputy cars are yard ornaments out here. They do NOTHING during hunting season to help game wardens and if you listen to the scanners they have very little calls. Clark needs to prove his need versus dog piling on the citizens asking for larger budgets. show us the crime stats and how each new deputy would help lower them. speaking of crime stats is the department properly completing police reports for all crimes they are called to investigate? have heard rumor from good sources that Deputies are not compiling reports for theft and burglary which artificially deflates our actual crime activity. I am sure State Police would like to know more about this... will be sending this up the food chain for review

Comments

Allpolitical I thought you were running for office??? Seems you have all solutions from the 1950’s!! That’s why everything is in decline!!


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