CRC Discusses Bonus

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011

FARMVILLE – The Commonwealth Regional Council's (CRC) member locality representatives considered the idea of setting aside a portion of revenue to provide the regional planning organization's staff a bonus after the agenda business items were concluded during this month's meeting. Charlotte County's representative, Gary Walker, brought the discussion back to the table for consideration on September 1.

“We're also giving them the incentive to go out and find more grant opportunities for our members to benefit from,” explained Walker to the rest of the Council about the bonus possibility. “The more grants you find and write and get approved, the more you get paid for, the more money we get.”

The original conversation started earlier this year, according to Walker, and at that time the discussion included taking any revenue above the amount budgeted for the fiscal year, which includes grant income and projects that came in as revenue, he said.

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A portion of that revenue would be set aside “or all of it” to possibly be considered used as a bonus for the CRC staff, he continued.

A revenue report, according to Mary Hickman, CRC acting CEO and president, could be created that would show how the CRC fared last year related to actual budgeted revenue and what actually came in, she explained during the discussion this month.

She also took time to go over some numbers at the request of Buckingham County's alternate representative, County Administrator Rebecca Carter.

“If we do more work and get more grants and get more income I certainly think it would be appropriate to designate a portion of it,” said Walker about the bonus possibility. “It may be some more unexpected budget increases that we may have to deal with or the General Assembly may cut us again. It doesn't look like the end is in sight with this mess we're in right now.”

According to Ms. Hickman, the CRC's staff has not received a pay increase in four years.

After tossing the idea around for a while, the Council decided that budget figures would be brought back related to the possibility of creating a reserve for review in October before making a final decision as to whether or not to provide the CRC staff a one-time bonus this fiscal year.

“We need to be thinking about if we want to do it,” said Walker. “And if we do, we can decide on what percent we want to set aside or put into the pool and see how it goes during the year.”

About the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget, Walker and Ms. Hickman both noted that the CRC did not overspend its budget.

“We were getting back to the black last year,” said Walker.

“Let people think about it,” he continued. “We may think of a better idea or a better way to do it but this is a start.”

And by October, according to Ms. Hickman, the CRC's final audit for the fiscal year would be completed and a presentation is scheduled for that meeting, she said.

“We'll keep it on the front burner,” noted Chairman William “Buckie” G. Fore Jr.

Charter Amendment

The amendments to the Council's Charter, which were approved by the Council earlier, have been sent to all of the participating localities, explained Ms. Hickman.

The copies were mailed out on August 11, she said, and so far the regional planning organization has received notification from Charlotte County as to its approval of the recommended changes that were explained in the packet sent out that proposes to provide flexibility and offer the Council a way to gain more participation from higher education institutions, organizations, towns, and localities within the region.

Ms. Carter notified those at the table that Buckingham's Board would be reviewing the request at its meeting this month.

The Council is made up of the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward.

Assistance To Firefighters Grant

Regional Planner Melody Foster noted that the CRC staff is currently assisting Cullen Volunteer Fire Department with its assistance to firefighters grant and that the grant program deadline was extended due to Hurricane Irene.

The deadline was extended by one week, she noted, to September 16.

In Other CRC Business

Ms. Hickman brought it to the Council's attention that reappointments were needed to the Old Dominion RC&D Council from the CRC. Todd Fortune and Andre Gilliam have been the representatives on the Board in the past. It was decided and voted on unanimously that Gilliam will be the representative and Fortune continues being the alternate on the RC&D.

The second item pertained to the CRC's fiscal year budget, she said.

According to Ms. Hickman, just recently she received notification that the dues to the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions had increased by $300 so this change was brought to the Council for consideration.

The original budgeted amount, she said, was $2,000 but the new amount to continue participating in the Association would be $2,300. Walker made a motion to continue participating and pay the additional amount. The motion passed unanimously.