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Board asks state to pay its fair share

PULASKI — A resolution suggesting that the Virginia General Assembly has shifted its budget responsibilities to local governments received the support of three Pulaski officials Monday night.
In a 3-2 vote, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors agreed to adopt a “Provide Local Aid to the Commonwealth” resolution being circulated by the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo).
Essentially, the resolution contends that state legislators have shifted their responsibilities to decide where to cut $100 million in funding to localities, thus leaving it up to local governments to “choose between raising taxes or reducing services.”
It goes on to support the recording of the “intergovernmental revenue reduction” to local governments as “local aid to the Commonwealth.”
Massie District Supervisor Frank Conner and Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp cast the two dissenting votes.
“I don’t see a lot of use in this type of resolution,” Conner said. “What good would it do?”
The resolution charges that the General Assembly “chose to respond to shrinking revenue growth by shifting to local governments the responsibility for reducing $100 million of core services.”
It goes on to say that Gov. Timothy Kaine “signed into law” the $100 million appropriation reduction in the 2008-2010 biennium budget “without identifying the programs to be reduced,” thereby leaving it up to local governments to decide where to drop the ax on services.
The resolution states, “These reductions are in addition to those made by the General Assembly and approved by the governor” which affected:
• Law enforcement,
• Elementary and secondary education,
• Alcoholic Beverage Control Enterprise Fund profits,
• Distribution of wine liter tax collections,
• Constitutional offices,
• Upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities to meet water quality standards and goals, and
• Farmland preservation, “to name but a few,” the resolution states.
According to the resolution, the funding reduction “will likely be carried forward into the future biennia,” forcing localities to either raise taxes or cut services.
The document concludes that the official recording of the local aid to the Commonwealth “on all financial records” be shared with the General Assembly, governor and local news media outlets “so that citizens understand the decisions made by (the local) governing body” are a result of “the Commonwealth’s choice to delegate their constitutional obligation to local governments.”
County Administrator Peter Huber said VACo is recommending Virginia counties adopt the resolution.
VACo’s “main concern is that it (local funding reduction) doesn’t become an annual pattern,” Huber added. He said different counties have expressed concern about (reduced funds) in different ways.”
“I just can’t support something like that,” Conner said.
Making a motion to adopt the resolution, Ingles District Supervisor Ranny Akers commented that localities shouldn’t have to “raise our real estate rates to cover (services) the state is supposed to pay for. When the state legislature doesn’t hold up its end of the deal, we have to step in because we have to pay the bills.”

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Board asks state to pay its fair share

PULASKI — A resolution suggesting that the Virginia General Assembly has shifted its budget responsibilities to local governments received the support of three Pulaski officials Monday night.
In a 3-2 vote, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors agreed to adopt a “Provide Local Aid to the Commonwealth” resolution being circulated by the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo).
Essentially, the resolution contends that state legislators have shifted their responsibilities to decide where to cut $100 million in funding to localities, thus leaving it up to local governments to “choose between raising taxes or reducing services.”
It goes on to support the recording of the “intergovernmental revenue reduction” to local governments as “local aid to the Commonwealth.”
Massie District Supervisor Frank Conner and Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp cast the two dissenting votes.
“I don’t see a lot of use in this type of resolution,” Conner said. “What good would it do?”
The resolution charges that the General Assembly “chose to respond to shrinking revenue growth by shifting to local governments the responsibility for reducing $100 million of core services.”
It goes on to say that Gov. Timothy Kaine “signed into law” the $100 million appropriation reduction in the 2008-2010 biennium budget “without identifying the programs to be reduced,” thereby leaving it up to local governments to decide where to drop the ax on services.
The resolution states, “These reductions are in addition to those made by the General Assembly and approved by the governor” which affected:
• Law enforcement,
• Elementary and secondary education,
• Alcoholic Beverage Control Enterprise Fund profits,
• Distribution of wine liter tax collections,
• Constitutional offices,
• Upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities to meet water quality standards and goals, and
• Farmland preservation, “to name but a few,” the resolution states.
According to the resolution, the funding reduction “will likely be carried forward into the future biennia,” forcing localities to either raise taxes or cut services.
The document concludes that the official recording of the local aid to the Commonwealth “on all financial records” be shared with the General Assembly, governor and local news media outlets “so that citizens understand the decisions made by (the local) governing body” are a result of “the Commonwealth’s choice to delegate their constitutional obligation to local governments.”
County Administrator Peter Huber said VACo is recommending Virginia counties adopt the resolution.
VACo’s “main concern is that it (local funding reduction) doesn’t become an annual pattern,” Huber added. He said different counties have expressed concern about (reduced funds) in different ways.”
“I just can’t support something like that,” Conner said.
Making a motion to adopt the resolution, Ingles District Supervisor Ranny Akers commented that localities shouldn’t have to “raise our real estate rates to cover (services) the state is supposed to pay for. When the state legislature doesn’t hold up its end of the deal, we have to step in because we have to pay the bills.”

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