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Westmoreland Board votes to increase funding for at-risk children

Dramatic increases in the need for comprehensive services for at-risk youth forced the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors Monday night to vote for a $450,000 increase in funding for this fiscal year.

The unanimous vote came after several of the supervisors expressed their concern about the growth of the program. “The taxpayers are at their limit,” said Board Vice-Chairman Woodrow Hynson.

“We need $450,000 to meet our budget needs,” said Kathryn Knoeller, the Chair of the Community Policy Management Team, who noted $313,000 of the needed funds would be provided by the state. “It is not easy to come and ask for more money. But foster care in the county, for example, has increased three-fold.”

“The numbers are growing,” said Knoeller. “We are mandated to provide services for children who are at risk. These are children we cannot turn our backs on.”  

Board Chairman Darryl Fisher noted that funding for the county’s comprehensive services would exceed $1.3 million this fiscal year. “It is a lot of money,” said Fisher. “But I believe there is a need.”

In other board news from the Monday meeting, David Brown, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Regional Administrator, told the board that the VDOT work on the Nomini Creek Bridge on Route 621 is expected to be completed in October.

Brown said work would begin this spring on a new bridge on Route 205 over Mattox Creek near Oak Grove. Brown said the Route 205 bridgework might continue for as long as two years necessitating one-lane traffic on the bridge for part of that time.

In other business, the board voted to approve a zoning permit to allow the location of a new roadside stand and retail greenhouse business on State Route 205 north of Colonial Beach.  

The owner of the new business, James Kirtley, said he and his family sold Christmas trees at that location during the holidays. “We wanted to see how it went,” he said. “We sold every single tree. We had a lot of support from the community.”

Finally, the board voted to reelect Fisher as chairman and Hynson as vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors for another year. Colonial Beach Supervisor Larry Roberson voted against the re-elections.  “It’s nothing personal,” Roberson said.  “I just feel the chairmanship should rotate around.” 

Richard Leggitt

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