Shutdown hits home

Posted on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Westmoreland County was feeling the impact of the government shutdown before it ended last week, especially on its plans to revamp the Judicial Center by March 2014.

According to County Administrator Norm Risavi, federal loans for the center as well as the Placid Bay Dam and Sewer Project were put on hold.

Risavi said the county Board of Supervisors gave approval to establish a line of credit up to $1.5 million so the projects could move forward.

“I’m more concerned with the issue of the courthouse in the event the House does not go along with the Senate,” Risavi said.

But just two hours after the BOS meeting, the shutdown was lifted after a bipartisan agreement was made to reopen the U.S. Government. The bill, passed by the Senate and the House, included funding the government to Jan. 15, 2014, raising the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014, agreeing to budget conference negotiations with a report to Congress by Dec. 13, and reporting requirements for income verification for the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.

The BOS ended the evening with a presentation on the status report of the Economic Development Strategic Plan.

John Rhodes, senior principal of Moran, Stahl & Boyer LLC, gave the presentation emphasizing the need for the community to define its priorities in the next 10 days. Rhodes said he expects to develop an implementation plan by late November, make a final presentation to the supervisors in early December and have an implementation plan by at least 2014.

As Rhodes continued to show plans for consideration that range from helping youth to programs for seniors, Supervisor Rosemary Mahan waited patiently for Rhodes to address her concern.

“I don’t see anything addressing the concerns we have about health care,” Mahan said, referring to the absence of a local hospital. The supervisor and others explained that residents of Westmoreland County have to travel outside the county to the nearest hospital.

Chairman Darryl Fisher said he sympathized with his associate on the matter, but understands hospitals are looking at large populations when moving to new areas.

Mahan also encouraged her associates to consider scheduling a informational session on the impact of oil drilling.

“People are upset on how it will impact aquifers and the Potomac River,” Mahan said. “We just need to get out in front of it and see what’s coming.”

Fisher recommended the board seek assistance from the planning district commission on the matter.

“Chairman I think you have a good ideas on it. We just need somebody’s expertise on it,” said vice-chairman Woody Hynson.

Potential users of ambulance services will see a percentage decrease in their exemption fee following a resolution approved by supervisors. Users with a combined income of less than $20,000 will be exempt from all ambulance fees. This is an increase from the previous $15,231. (See table below)

The supervisors approved several items during Wednesday’s meeting. They are as follows: a request to transfer $7,637.46 from the contingency fund to cover overtime due dispatchers, turning over Taylor Town (route 668) and Edge Hill (route 695) Roads over to the Virginia Department of Transportation for improvement; appointing Kathy Allen to the social services board to represent District 4, and amending the golf cart ordinance to permit drivers to use carts in the evening provided they are equipped with lights as required by the state.

Table 1: Ambulance Exemption Scale

Current construction of the Judicial Center

Current construction of the Judicial Center

Total combined income

Less than $20,000=100%

$20,001-30,000=75%

$30,001-40,000=50%

$40,001-50,000=25%

$50,0001 & above=0%

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