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County opens $9M judicial center

The new Westmoreland County Judicial Center — a facility that has been in the planning stages for 25...

Longtime educator takes over at W&L High School

Longtime educator takes over at W&L High School

When Dashan Turner was a boy growing up in a small town in Mississippi, one of his teachers told him...

Montross council productive July meeting

On July 22, Montross Town Council quickly took care of electing officers for the new fiscal year. R....

Westmoreland County’s Parker Farms Supplies Produce to East Coast

Westmoreland County’s Parker Farms Supplies Produce to East Coast

Parker Farms, headquartered near Oak Grove with 2,000 acres of produce growing along the Rappahannoc...

“Bridge Closed” signs up on Rt 205

“Bridge Closed” signs were posted this week on State Route 205 in Westmoreland County as the Virgini...

14-year-old equipment endangering lives

Oak Grove VFD Chief Mike Gutridge recently advised that he is very concerned about the decaying cond...

 

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W’md county prepares for budget cuts

In response to proposed budget reductions by the State of Virginia and the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ that, if it happens, could mean $1 trillion in federal budget cuts over the next decade, Westmoreland County officials are preparing for the impact the reductions of state and federal funding will have on the county’s budget.

County Administrator Norm Risavi said he will hold a planning meeting with county department heads in January to discuss the difficult decisions on the horizon. He also plans an early budget session with the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors.

“We are facing a great deal of uncertainty,” Risavi said. “The state is reacting to decreasing federal revenues. A lot of the programs that pass through the state require federal funding.”

In November, the State of Virginia informed Westmoreland County of a wide ranging budget proposal that would reduced state funding to the county by more than $100,000 for fiscal 2013. This follows a $127,000 reduction in state funds for fiscal 2012.

The proposed reduction of state funds and the possibility of even further reductions caused by the economic impact of the federal government going over the ‘fiscal cliff’ have county officials concerned. “When the economy began to deteriorate, people said ‘do more with less,’ but now they are saying, ‘do less with less,’” Risavi said.

“Up to this point, we have identified the economic softening and made adjustments to minimize the impact on our citizens,” Risavi said. “We have never seen such a long period of economic weakness. These are no longer usual times. Those of us in county government need to look at technology and find new ways to get things accomplished.”

Decreasing state and federal payments to Westmoreland County are having a dramatic impact on the county’s revenues. Westmoreland County Schools, for example, have seen their share of state and federal funding reduced each year for the past five years. That is forcing the county to use more and more local revenue to meet the necessities of the various departments and agencies.

The five biggest sources of local revenue for Westmoreland County are taxes from real estate, personal property, retail sales, communications and utilities. “All of these sources are sensitive to economic conditions,” Risavi said. “So, the slow pace of the recovery is making things very difficult.”

 

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