Tue07292014

Last updateWed, 19 Nov 2014 8pm

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Wmd. Board moves one polling location; refuses to move Oak Grove polling spot

The Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors has approved moving the District One polling place from its current location at the Cople District Fire Station to the Carmel United Methodist Church at 9463 Cople Highway, in Hague.

But the board, based on the strong opposition of Vice-Chairman Woodrow Hynson, declined to relocate the District Four polling place from its current location at the Oak Grove Fire Station to the Washington District Elementary School at 454 Oak Grove Road, in Colonial Beach.

Westmoreland County General Registrar Kirstin Hicks wanted to move both polling locations before the 2014 elections. “There has long been a need for an alternative to using the Cople District Fire Station,” Hicks said. “Adequate lighting, heating, and cooling are issues that our elections officers must deal with during every election.”

The board agreed and approved the Cople move unanimously during its Monday night meeting. “The comments I have received from the community have been positive,” said Board Chairman Darryl Fisher, who represents District One.

Hicks also said, “The Oak Grove Fire Station has also not been particularly suitable as a polling place, due to heating and cooling inconsistencies, and because the firemen are often walking through the polling area to their meeting room, office or kitchen.”

Hynson urged the board to vote against the Oak Grove move. “I have looked at it hard; that is my obligation to my constituents,” said Hynson, who represents District Four. “With improved communications, we can fix the problems. I think the current location is the best location.”

Hynson said the Oak Grove Fire House, which is located at the corner of Route 3 and Route 205, attracts a steady voting crowd because of that location. “People drive by this location on their way to work. If we move the polling place off the road and to the school, we will lose voters.”

“If you want to feed an elephant peanuts, you have to put the peanuts where it can get to them,” Hynson said. The final board vote was two for the move, two against the move and one abstention, which meant the recommendation to change the polling place was not approved.

At its Monday meeting, the board also received a 2013 year-end report on the county’s finances from the accounting firm of Robinson, Farmer, Cox Associates of Fredericksburg. The report said that despite the budget challenges the county has been facing, Westmoreland County is in a good financial position.

“We are in good shape,” said Hynson. “This county, like every other county in every state, is facing challenges as a result of reduced revenues. But we are dealing with it without further burdening the taxpayers.”

“Since the recession, we have experienced declining revenues due to reduced consumer spending, and job losses or reduced hours for many of our residents,” said County Administrator Norm Risavi.

“Our departments, constitutional officers and school system have managed to maintain services at reasonable levels in light of these reduced resources.  The significant increased costs by unfunded federal and state mandates will continue to challenge localities in the future,” Risavi said.

 “We will continue to review our processes and programs to determine if there are more cost effective ways to provide service, so that we can maintain the county’s strong financial position,” Risavi said. “This most recent financial report displays the Board of Supervisors’ commitment on maintaining a solid financial path for the county.”

Richard Leggitt

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