Caroline County Board of Supervisors: Fredericksburg’s public safety is a legislative priority, but not our own.

What passes for a (proposed) legislative platform for this county is laughable (PDF).

If you read through the thing, where at the specific issues facing Caroline County (and, yes, I know it is a regional platform. *snort*)? On the last page, it mentions funding for the HB 599 Program. The HB 599 Program is funding appropriated through the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for local police departments. While some of the incorporated towns in the local counties receive some money, the main recipient of HB 599 locally is the Fredericksburg Police Department. Bowling Green, for instance, received a misery $26,310 of funding in FY06 through HB 599 (PDF).

Where in the legislative platform is the request that Compensation Board funding — which funds the offices of the sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney, clerk of the court, treasurer, and commissioner of revenue — not be cut? Where is the request for full-funding of offices that the Compensation Board states are understaffed according to their own standards?

According to the state’s own guidelines, the Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office should be getting additional funding for a full-time position for FY10 (while simultaneously being ranked as most in need) (PDF). The Clerk of the Court’s Office should getting an additional position (PDF). The Treasurer’s Office? Two positions (PDF). Commissioner of Revenue? Two positions (PDF).

The most egregious of these are the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the Clerk of the Court’s Office. Last year, the Board of Supervisors in its infinite wisdom decide that money should be given to Big Brothers, Big Sisters because a child might be saved (“Won’t someone please think of the children?!”). Seriously, someone (Floyd Thomas) said that. They did all this while refusing to funding an additional position in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. You know, that office that actually prosecutes the people who harm the county’s children and who may in the future harm the county’s children?

And meanwhile in the Clerk of the Court’s Office, the clerk (Ray Campbell) decided, starting July 1, 2009, that they would no longer prepare sentencing reports for the judge. In doing so, the clerk’s office became only the second office in the state to not prepare sentencing reports alongside the city of Richmond.

Because the presiding judge went to the Board of Supervisors stating that they could be sued if they didn’t give him money to hire a clerk (separate of the clerk’s office) to prepare the sentencing reports and because he absolutely had to have the money right then (!!!), the BOS decided to add a full-time clerk’s position (costing $22,000+) on top of a budget that had absolutely zero money to spare.

All this while the county believes that Fredericksburg’s police force is a pressing issue on the county’s legislative platform.

And then we turn to the composite index issues. The composite index is a complicated formula that the Virginia Department of Education uses to determine how much money each jurisdiction should get using several figures, including assessed real-estate values.  The higher the determined value for each county, the more able those counties are supposed to be to fund their school system. In addition, the higher the composite index value, the more money that the jurisdiction has to provide to the system if they want the state’s money.

For years, Caroline County’s composite index has been higher (therefore, we are supposed to be able to fund our schools) than our neighboring counties Spotsylvania and Stafford. That’s right, Caroline is be able to pay for schools than Spotsy and Stafford. While in this biennium (2010–2012) Spotsylvania’s composite index is no long lower than Caroline’s, Stafford’s still is. Caroline’s composite index is .3580, Stafford’s is .3362 (Spotsylvania is at .3594) (PDF).

So, where is this address in the proposed legislative platform? Well, of course, it isn’t. After all, neither Spotsy nor Stafford would be too supportive of a platform that resulted in less money going to themselves.

But the Caroline County Board of Supervisors isn’t Spotsy nor Stafford. Why don’t they tell the Virginia Association of Counties Region 7 to take a hike? Why don’t they worked with places like Lancaster County (composite index of .8000 [Ibid] while half of their school kids are on free or reduced price lunch) to put pressure on the folks in the General Assembly to actually get something done?

Caroline County has three Delegates (one of whom lives in the county) and a State Senator representing their interests (allegedly) in the General Assembly. And Caroline County can not come up with a list of pressing issues without the help of the folks in Spotsy and Stafford? The board nor county staff can’t spend thirty minutes sitting down to identify these issues that are affecting the county and propose a solution to fix them?

Heck, if I can do in less that 30 minutes, they should be able to.

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