PE Supervisors Support Community Action Effort

Published 4:06 pm Thursday, March 12, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD — County supervisors approved the recommendation of its Finance Committee Tuesday night, lending financial support for Southside Training, Employment and Placement Services (STEPS).

“For many years Prince Edward County provided funds for HOPE and before that CPAC, to assist those organizations in meeting the CSBG [Community Services Block Grant] match,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett detailed in a memo to the board. “Every dollar of local match allows our community to receive four dollars of federal funding to assist those in poverty. …Since the de-designation of HOPE the citizens of our region have not been receiving services provided by a CAA [Community Action Agency].”

County supervisors, following Amelia and Buckingham Counties, approved STEPS’ funding request—in Prince Edward’s case it is $14,488—that will come from savings in a lower than anticipated bid for a replacement garbage truck. STEPS had requested the funding in February, representing the County’s 25 percent match for the block grant awarded to STEPS when it was designated a Community Action Agency for the region.

Email newsletter signup

“The program’s main goal is to decrease poverty, not by just providing money to those in need, but to build the capacity of low income individuals so they can work their way out of poverty and then stay out. It was explained that the function of CSBG monies are to fund the central management and core activities of the Community Action Agency which allows the agency to mobilize additional resources to combat the central causes of poverty in our region,” Bartlett explained.

Board members unanimously approved the finance committee’s recommendation to provide the funds. STEPS, it was detailed, plans to hire a community planner/grant writer and to conduct a needs assessment to determine needed programs in each county. Once that assessment is completed, STEPS would then locate funding to fill identified needs.

CSBG programs can span the spectrum from education and employment to child care, community and economic development, Head Start, health and nutrition, housing and related services and special populations, including the elderly, ex-offenders and the homeless, as well as transportation.

FERC Meeting

Bartlett announced that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has scheduled a scoping meeting at the County’s high school starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information concerning the natural gas pipeline planned to run through Prince Edward County.

“Affected property owners and other stakeholders can provide comments at the meeting. It is open to the general public. FERC staff will be there on hand and will describe the environmental review process, provide relative information on the project and answer procedural questions,” Bartlett said. “Dominion Power will also be present and typically they give a summary of the project and would be available before and after the meeting to answer any questions.”

Bartlett advised that the board may wish to appoint a representative to speak at the meeting to mainly explain the County’s resolution of support. The primary reason, he cited, is for economic development. Natural gas is now the fuel of choice for most economic development projects and for residential use.

The board designated Buffalo District Supervisor C.R. “Bob” Timmons Jr.

School Board Selection

Supervisors held a public hearing to allow citizens an opportunity to submit names of candidates to be considered for appointment to the Lockett and Prospect districts.

Lockett will have a new school board representative when the board is scheduled to make appointments in June. Current representative Susan Lawman has not sought reappointment. Speaker Bemeche Hicks voiced support for Chapman Hood Frazier.

“He will be an asset to the school board based on his educational background, his vision and also of course his employment history [he is a professor at James Madison University],” Hicks said.

Frazier, it was cited, had submitted an application.

Linda Campbell, wife of the late Prospect District Supervisor Howard “Pete” Campbell, offered her support for current Prospect District representative Darin Thomas in the public comment portion of the meeting.

“I know that my husband was very proud of what he’s done,” she said. “I’ve done some snooping to make sure he’s been doing right and he is. So, when it comes time…to elect a new school member from Prospect, I would wholeheartedly ask you to vote for Darin Thomas.”

In Other News…

*Two supervisors expressed concerns over the condition of unpaved roads, with one noting it has been relayed to VDOT officials. Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones highlighted particularly Watson Road and the unpaved portion of Miller’s Lake Road.

*Piedmont Court Services Director Renee Maxey presented an update on the programs and activities of the agency. The agency is the local probation service for eight counties, including Prince Edward. They supervise only adults categorized as non-violent offenders serving the circuit, general district and juvenile and domestic relations courts.

Piedmont Court Services is in its 32nd year of existence.

Offenders reported over 24,000 hours of community service in the last fiscal year. In the 32 years of supervision, 14 percent have been supervised more than one time. They have an 83 percent success rate, Maxey stated, where the offenders have successfully completed all of their court-ordered obligations.

*Supervisors approved an amendment to the Commonwealth Regional Council’s charter by resolution. Current language keeps localities or institutions—except as otherwise specified—from being required to pay annual dues in an amount greater than any other member locality or institution.

*The board also approved as part of the consent agenda a budget amendment and appropriation of $260.23 received from the DMV from the sale of animal friendly license plates. The monies must be used to support dog and cat sterilization. The County typically provides the funds to the Southside SPCA.