School funding approved

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By DEBBIE HALL
Staff Writer

The Patrick County Board of Supervisors on Monday voted to provide the county school division with level funding, plus 3 percent.

The school division requested an $812,787 increase over last year’s budget in March when school officials unveiled the $30.5 million 2017-18 budget proposal.

On Monday, Lock Boyce, of the Mayo Rover District, made the motion to provide level funding to the school division, plus a 3 percent increase  (or $231,509), for a total local contribution of $7.3 million.

Only Rickie Fulcher, of the Peters Creek District, failed to support the motion.

In other matters Monday, supervisors:

  • Heard from Russell W. “Bill” Moore , of Woolwine, who asked about what he called an unbudgeted expense of $1.2 million in Fiscal Year 2016.

Moore said according to County Administrator Tom Rose, the county does not have records or documents of the discussion, review, evaluation, approval or appropriation of the expense that was not included in the budget.

Moore said he asked for certain documents under the Freedom of Information Act, a state law which provides for residents to request certain information from the government. The government must provide the information, or explain why it cannot.

Moore eventually filed in the General District Court of Patrick County a petition for a Writ of Mandamus.

Two hearings have been held in General District Court on the matter. A third is scheduled for mid-May.

Boyce said later in the comment portion that he anticipated Rose will provide the documentation Moore requested during the May 15 court hearing.

  • Heard from Marvin Foley of the Blue Ridge District. Foley said he represented a several people who asked him to speak about a number of concerns, from food stamps and welfare to across the board raises like those for school division employees. Foley said pay increases should be more equitable. As they are, those who make more will receive more as a result of a 2 percent raise, while those who make less will get significantly less.
  • He encouraged supervisors to drain the swamp at the local level by cutting any waste and unnecessary positions. “We’ve got too many foxes in the hen house,” Foley said.
  • Held a public hearing on a proposed Secondary Six-Year Plan to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Lisa Price Hughes, resident engineer of VDOT, noted roads on the preliminary plan include Taylors View Drive, Farmers Road, Howell Bottom Lane, Ravens Den and Mountain View Road.

  • Sharon Vipperman, of Buck Run Drive in Critz, and several of her neighbors attended the meeting. Some, including Vipperman, spoke during the hearing to express concerns about the condition of their road and how to pay for repairs to the private roadway. Concerns included potholes, mud and a sinkhole.

The board and Hughes said that since the drive is private, upkeep is the responsibility of residents who live and share the road. The state does not maintain private roads.

Crystal Harris, chairman, said she had heard concerns from the Virginia State Police as well as the Patrick County Sheriff regarding a recent increase in the speed limit near the local hospital after VDOT recently upped the speed limit from 45 to 55 miles per hour. The increase “is a danger to our citizens,” Harris said.

Hughes said she was aware of the concerns, and VDOT officials are looking at other options.

  • Met in closed session to discuss personnel matters; legal matters; contract matters and real estate.
  • After closed session, supervisors appointed Jane Carlson to a three year term on the Piedmont Community Services Board of Directors; approved the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) pay Stanley Fain and the Patrick County Music Association (PCMA).