STEPS Talks PE Support

Published 2:35 pm Thursday, March 5, 2015

PRINCE EDWARD —Southside Training, Employment and Placement Services (STEPS) is the region’s community action agency.

What now?

“…Thank you for your support of our endeavor to be named and designated as the new community action agency for the six county region,” STEPS President and CEO Sharon Harrup told County supervisors at their February 10 meeting. “We know that our work begins now.”

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Harrup offered that they see the need for emergency services, such as housing, food, clothing and utility payments, but also that some things can be cyclical.

“So our goal, really, is to invest in moving people out of poverty, to find ways to stand them up, to find job training, to find educational opportunity,” she said. “But one of the most critical components of our community action designation is that we need to do a comprehensive needs assessment.”

The assessment will drive the determining factor of what services will be put in place. It will be geared at both a county and regional level.

One has not been done by a community action agency in the region in over 15 years, according to Harrup.

In other news, Harrup reported that STEPS will receive an annual Community Services Block Grant (totaling about $318,000) which requires a 25 percent match. That calculates—based on individual county poverty rates—to $14,488 for Prince Edward in the current budget year.

“We’re excited to be able to serve the citizenry in this County and I feel strongly that what you see coming out of our agency will be evidence-based data,” Harrup told the board.

Harrup was asked if the funds have to come from the county, or if it could come from profits out of one of STEPS’ other businesses.

“It possibly could,” she said. “What the state has requested that we do is calculate the 25 percent match per jurisdiction in the region.”

Harrup would also offer that in the first two years, the cash match would be critical for the grant funds. In the third and fourth years, she speculated, they would have a little more flexibility.

“But right now, we need to demonstrate to the state that our localities are fully behind the community action designation,” she said.

Supervisors sent the request to the County’s finance committee, which could offer a recommendation to the full board in March.

STEPS is also asking that supervisors appoint a member to a Tripartite Board of Directors which will oversee the operation of the community action agency.

In Other News…

*Betty Baskin asked that county supervisors help in getting her unpaved road (Washout Road) paved. The road, she cited, does not meet the qualifications for the traffic count.

*Commonwealth Regional Council Executive Director Mary Hickman presented the annual report of work by the Council, including work on behalf of Prince Edward.

Hickman noted that they assisted on a grant application for two fire departments, provided grant administration services for 11 local projects throughout the region totaling almost $6 million, cited two projects were in Prince Edward for the Moton Museum, that they provided planning and technical assistance in support of local comprehensive plans and rural transportation planning program, and assisted Prince Edward in updating the County’s Comprehensive plan.

*Lockett District Supervisor Robert “Bobby” Jones and Prospect Supervisor Calvin Gray announced citizen committee appointees that will aid in the selection of school board members from their respective districts. Jones stated that he asked Betsy Jenkins to chair the three-member committee; Gray cited that Sam Campbell will serve the five-member committee in the Prospect District.

Lockett District school board representative Susan Lawman has confirmed she will not seek reappointment. Prospect District representative Darin Thomas is seeking another four-year term.

Individuals interested in serving on the school board from the two districts can contact the citizens committees. The board also authorized a public hearing for their March meeting where citizens will be able to submit names of potential candidates for consideration.

*Supervisors agreed to advertise to add more properties as part of the Enterprise Zone, which can afford some incentives to foster economic development, and the state’s real property investment program and the job creation grant program. County officials are expected to look at properties west of Farmville, including sites of proposed asphalt and concrete plants off of U.S. Route 460.

The board agreed to authorize the preparation of a boundary amendment application.

The board will hold a public hearing on proposed properties.

It’s a process that will take about three months.

*Supervisors agreed to approve the Town’s use of Mottley Lake as a temporary emergency water supply (effective to the end of the year).

*Supervisors appropriated $79,029 for the schools received in grant monies that will be used to purchase equipment.