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Board has legislative ‘wish list’

With the 2009 session of the Virginia General Assembly slated to convene on Jan. 14, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors has approved its legislative wish list to be sent to area legislators.
A draft list of 13 items, approved at the Board’s December meeting, will be sent to District 21 State Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke), District 38 Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Tazewell), Sixth District Del. Anne B. Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville) and Seventh District Del. Dave Nutter (R-Christiansburg).
In addition to improving the “partnership” between local and state government service to Virginians, the supervisors are asking the General Assembly to address cuts in state funding for mandated programs and other financial issues such as continued loss of state funding for secondary road maintenance.
The Board’s list of legislative requests is compiled in a letter to local state representatives from Supervisor Chairman Joe Sheffey. The Board recently put its stamp of approval on the “draft” list included in its December meeting packet.
With regards to the relationship between state and local governments, the supervisors point out that residents pay both local and state taxes, so there “should be a solid partnership…to be as efficient as possible in providing services to the citizens.”
The letter states that local governments “have seen this partnership deteriorate” over the years. It goes on to say the Board of Supervisors is “concerned about the general transfer of financial responsibility to local government.”
The Board also is asking the state to maintain level funding to localities for education because “any significant reduction in educational funding increases pressure (on localities) to raise real estate taxes.”
Another area of concern expressed by the supervisors refers to a Dec. 4 letter to Pulaski County and its Industrial Development Authority requesting $1 million in funding be returned to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The funds were to be used for a New River Valley Center for Excellence, according to the letter by VEDP General Counsel Sandra Jones McNinch.
According to the VEDP letter, the partnership disbursed the funds to the county’s IDA under several conditions:
•First, Volvo Trucks North America Inc. was to convey land on which to construct the center;
•Second, Volvo was to contribute $3 million to the center from a Virginia Investment Partnership grant. The first of five $600,000 installments of the grant have been paid to Volvo, but have not been transferred to Pulaski County or the IDA, McNinch’s letter states;
•Third, Volvo was to contribute to the center $690,000 which it is alleged to owe to Virginia under a Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund grant. McNinch writes in the letter that repayment of the opportunity funds is being requested because Volvo “did not hire the number of employees that it promised to hire when the grant was originally paid.”
According to McNinch, Volvo will be requested in a separate letter to return the $600,000 and $690,000 in grant funds.
She also said no further installments on the partnership grant will be paid to the truck manufacturer.
“We understand the impact that the cutbacks at Volvo have had on Pulaski County and the surrounding communities and we understand the value that a unique training center may have brought to the region,” McNinch says in her letter.
But, she adds, “Our responsibility to faithfully administer the economic development incentives offered by the Commonwealth has caused us to take these unfortunate steps.”
The VEDP requests the county and IDA return the $1 million by Jan. 31.
In its letter to state legislators, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors is asking the state to “maintain our support for Volvo” by allowing the “Center for Excellence Training” to be located on the Pulaski County High School campus, adjacent to Volvo.
In other matters, the county also is asking state legislators to maintain state reimbursements for up to 15 percent of annual expenditures in Comprehensive Services Act programs for youth; and to consolidate state reporting requirements for state agencies (such as the departments of education, social services and juvenile justice) that currently are “separate, uncoordinated and often conflicting.”
In highway matters, the supervisors are asking legislators to consider several changes:
•Increase funding for secondary roads, adding, “At current funding levels it will take 50 years to complete currently identified secondary road improvement projects in Pulaski County;”
•Restrict the use of left lanes on interstates to passing only in order to increase safety and reduce congestion;
•Ensure funding is maintained for replacement of the Route 114 bridge that was damaged in June 2002 and, seven years later, is “finally projected to be rebuilt in 2009;” and
• Require scooter operators to “obtain at least a modified driver’s license, tags and basic insurance.”
Other legislative requests include allowing social services agencies to contract with social services agencies in other jurisdictions to use video conferencing to meet mandatory visitation requirements; focus health department expenditures on mandated services, rather than non-mandated services; “restructure and provide adequate support for the court system so that circuit court judges don’t have to “beg for support and supplies from local governments;” and match jail funding reductions with credits for community service.
“Motivating inmates to do community service helps local and state government reduce operating costs while helping inmates acclimate to a legitimate work setting,” the legislative letter states.

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Board has legislative ‘wish list’

With the 2009 session of the Virginia General Assembly slated to convene on Jan. 14, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors has approved its legislative wish list to be sent to area legislators.
A draft list of 13 items, approved at the Board’s December meeting, will be sent to District 21 State Sen. John S. Edwards (D-Roanoke), District 38 Sen. Phillip P. Puckett (D-Tazewell), Sixth District Del. Anne B. Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville) and Seventh District Del. Dave Nutter (R-Christiansburg).
In addition to improving the “partnership” between local and state government service to Virginians, the supervisors are asking the General Assembly to address cuts in state funding for mandated programs and other financial issues such as continued loss of state funding for secondary road maintenance.
The Board’s list of legislative requests is compiled in a letter to local state representatives from Supervisor Chairman Joe Sheffey. The Board recently put its stamp of approval on the “draft” list included in its December meeting packet.
With regards to the relationship between state and local governments, the supervisors point out that residents pay both local and state taxes, so there “should be a solid partnership…to be as efficient as possible in providing services to the citizens.”
The letter states that local governments “have seen this partnership deteriorate” over the years. It goes on to say the Board of Supervisors is “concerned about the general transfer of financial responsibility to local government.”
The Board also is asking the state to maintain level funding to localities for education because “any significant reduction in educational funding increases pressure (on localities) to raise real estate taxes.”
Another area of concern expressed by the supervisors refers to a Dec. 4 letter to Pulaski County and its Industrial Development Authority requesting $1 million in funding be returned to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership. The funds were to be used for a New River Valley Center for Excellence, according to the letter by VEDP General Counsel Sandra Jones McNinch.
According to the VEDP letter, the partnership disbursed the funds to the county’s IDA under several conditions:
•First, Volvo Trucks North America Inc. was to convey land on which to construct the center;
•Second, Volvo was to contribute $3 million to the center from a Virginia Investment Partnership grant. The first of five $600,000 installments of the grant have been paid to Volvo, but have not been transferred to Pulaski County or the IDA, McNinch’s letter states;
•Third, Volvo was to contribute to the center $690,000 which it is alleged to owe to Virginia under a Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund grant. McNinch writes in the letter that repayment of the opportunity funds is being requested because Volvo “did not hire the number of employees that it promised to hire when the grant was originally paid.”
According to McNinch, Volvo will be requested in a separate letter to return the $600,000 and $690,000 in grant funds.
She also said no further installments on the partnership grant will be paid to the truck manufacturer.
“We understand the impact that the cutbacks at Volvo have had on Pulaski County and the surrounding communities and we understand the value that a unique training center may have brought to the region,” McNinch says in her letter.
But, she adds, “Our responsibility to faithfully administer the economic development incentives offered by the Commonwealth has caused us to take these unfortunate steps.”
The VEDP requests the county and IDA return the $1 million by Jan. 31.
In its letter to state legislators, Pulaski County Board of Supervisors is asking the state to “maintain our support for Volvo” by allowing the “Center for Excellence Training” to be located on the Pulaski County High School campus, adjacent to Volvo.
In other matters, the county also is asking state legislators to maintain state reimbursements for up to 15 percent of annual expenditures in Comprehensive Services Act programs for youth; and to consolidate state reporting requirements for state agencies (such as the departments of education, social services and juvenile justice) that currently are “separate, uncoordinated and often conflicting.”
In highway matters, the supervisors are asking legislators to consider several changes:
•Increase funding for secondary roads, adding, “At current funding levels it will take 50 years to complete currently identified secondary road improvement projects in Pulaski County;”
•Restrict the use of left lanes on interstates to passing only in order to increase safety and reduce congestion;
•Ensure funding is maintained for replacement of the Route 114 bridge that was damaged in June 2002 and, seven years later, is “finally projected to be rebuilt in 2009;” and
• Require scooter operators to “obtain at least a modified driver’s license, tags and basic insurance.”
Other legislative requests include allowing social services agencies to contract with social services agencies in other jurisdictions to use video conferencing to meet mandatory visitation requirements; focus health department expenditures on mandated services, rather than non-mandated services; “restructure and provide adequate support for the court system so that circuit court judges don’t have to “beg for support and supplies from local governments;” and match jail funding reductions with credits for community service.
“Motivating inmates to do community service helps local and state government reduce operating costs while helping inmates acclimate to a legitimate work setting,” the legislative letter states.

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