Expenses, air transport discussed

The Patrick County Board of Supervisors approved a more than $700,000 budget request for the Patrick County School division.

The funds were part of the school division’s initial appropriation for the current fiscal year, according to Sandra Stone, treasurer. She said the request would have been nearly $1.5 million. However, the school division agreed to help pre-pay $700,000 towards the debt service that is due in the upcoming fiscal year.

The county previously agreed to take over the debt service, but thought the school division prepaid that portion of the debt, according to previous reports.

“This is nothing out of the ordinary,” Stone said of the remainder of the request, adding the funds previously were appropriated by the supervisors.

After withholding the $700,000 for the debt service, a majority of the supervisors approved the school division’s final request of $756,435.48 for the current fiscal year.

Karl Weiss, of the Blue Ridge District, voted against the measure. He said he had asked the school division to provide additional information about the $43,000 cost of a speaker at a retreat that included 15 individuals as well as a $2,500 expense for another speaker who addressed 42 people at another event.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

In other matters, the supervisors:

*Approved $8,714.85 to provide turn out gear to three career EMS/firefighter employees. The gear is needed to complete training, according to County Administrator Tom Rose. He added the cost was the lowest of four bids received by Patrick County Emergency Services coordinator Steve Allen.

*Approved a $10,000 request for paving work at Dan River Park.

*Heard a request from Air Methods. David Poulsen, vice president of the company, asked the board to allow the company to continue serving as the priority “first call” provider when medical air transport is needed. The board had recently approved a change in medical air transport providers, from Air Methods to Air Care. The supervisors declined Poulsen’s request, and opted to continue allowing Air Care to serve as the priority provider.

*Approved a request from Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Vipperman to hire a part-time pretrial services officer/community corrections officer.  Currently, Patrick is one of only five jurisdictions in Virginia without pretrial services.

Grant funds may be tapped in the upcoming fiscal year to help pay the $15.40 to $17.50 hourly salary for the position, Vipperman said, adding an agency in another jurisdiction – New River Community Corrections and Pretrial Services in Pulaski County – will provide office supplies, a computer, cell phone, drug test kits and other supplies.

Pretrial services can aid “the courts in the initial processing of defendants, reducing jail overcrowding and upholding public safety,” Vipperman wrote in a letter. If a defendant is granted bond, the officer can provide supervision to ensure bond conditions are followed, she said.

The community corrections portion of the post will “essentially do the same thing as a state probation officer – monitor community service, house arrest, substance abuse treatment” and the like, for a group of people not currently eligible for supervision, she said.

*Following a closed session meeting to discuss personnel, legal, contract and real estate matters, the board appointed Patty Hazelwood to serve on the Tourism Advisory Council and reappointed Ron Haley to the Patrick County Economic Development Authority.

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