To the Editor,
As a Citizens of Patrick County, I do not understand how the Patrick County Public School system can have their 2021-2022 budget approved by the Patrick County Board of Supervisors, $5.2 million. In the Enterprise on March 23, 2022, the school system is requesting $512,000 or $492,000 from the county by June 30.
I had the honor to serve as Patrick County Emergency Management Coordinator for almost 14 years. Within the years of service, I worked within the budget the Board of Supervisors approved. The Board of Supervisors had to make some very hard decisions to make the budget work and do what was best for Patrick County. For two years, the Board of Supervisors had to cut the capital improvement funds from our volunteer fire departments and volunteer rescue squads. Those funds help the volunteer departments purchase fire trucks and ambulances, which is part of the public safety within Patrick County and bordering counties.
Patrick County Volunteer Fire Departments receive $17,075, and the Volunteer Rescue Squads receive $16,075 each year from the Emergency Management budget to help cover insurance on the trucks, ambulances and buildings, electric, phone, internet and heating bill, fuel and maintenance on the trucks and ambulances. This is the minimum amount needed without any unforeseen occurrences. All the other funds needed by the volunteer departments are made from fundraisers. Some departments have a fundraiser every month just to cover their bills. A basic fire engine starts around $400,000, that is without any equipment or hose on the truck. If the fire department is next in line for the capital improvement funds, which only comes around every nine years if the funds are in the budget that year. The department will receive $154,000 from Patrick County, leaving the fire department to come up with the remaining cost of the fire truck. A basic 2-wheel drive ambulance starts around $200,000 with no equipment on the ambulance. If the rescue squad is next in line for the capital improvement funds, which only comes around every 6 years if the funds are in the budget that year, they will receive $76,000.
If the volunteer departments in Patrick County can operate within the funds the Patrick County Board of Supervisors allocates them and their fundraisers, why can the Patrick County Public School System not operate within the budget the State of VA and Patrick County Board of Supervisors approve for the number of students in the Patrick County schools? It seems that the volunteer departments are better at managing funds over our school system that is teaching our children.
In the March 23, 2022, Enterprise under the (Legal section the Patrick County School System) is accepting RFP for general construction jobs at multiple school locations. Where is this money coming from if they do not have the funds for the remaining budget year?