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Westmoreland Supervisors struggle with tight budget

As state and federal funding to localities has been reduced, local governments across the country have been forced to tighten their belts. At the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors meeting in Montross on Monday, county officials made it plain that Westmoreland County is facing the same challenges as many other localities.

“It is not all pie in the sky now,” said Board Chairman Darryl Fisher. “We are down where the rubber meets the road.”

As the board discussed needed funding for programs like comprehensive services for disadvantaged children, social services and transportation, it was clear that despite Westmoreland County’s efforts to maintain a reserve for troubled times, the county is struggling with a very tight budget.

The board did approve an $81,000 supplemental appropriation for comprehensive services, but warned agency officials not to ask for more. “We are at the bottom of the well,” said Supervisor W.W. Hynson. “We can’t keep going there.”

The appropriation will be added to $188,000 in additional funding the state is providing for comprehensive services for children. The state and federal governments are also providing the county with an additional $46,900 for social services programs.

Westmoreland County is receiving $1.2 million less in revenue this year than it did in 2013. In addition to federal and state funding, county tax revenues are down as a result of the continuing economic slowdown.
The bad news continued Monday as David Brown, the Northern Neck Residency Administrator for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, reviewed “changes in projected revenue dollars” for secondary road projects in the county.

Brown told the supervisors the state was dramatically reducing state funding for roads in Westmoreland County. Brown suggested the supervisors, who were visibly discouraged by his presentation, look for funding alternatives through other state and federal transportation programs.

In other board meeting developments Monday, Colonial Beach Mayor Mike Ham introduced new Colonial Beach Police Chief Libby Legg to the board. And, Colonial Beach Supervisor Larry Roberson announced that the insurance company covering Colonial Beach Elementary School, which burned down in a January fire, was refusing to pay for replacing the building. “It looks like it’s going to the lawyers,” said Roberson.

—Richard Leggitt

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