Greene County Board of Supervisors Meeting April 14, 2010
By Terri Gulyas, Greene County Field Officer
The second public workshop to discuss Emergency Medical Services (EMS) revenue recovery started with a presentation by Gary Matthews from Diversified Ambulance Billing and Bob Townsend, the Public Relations Officer from the Greene County Rescue Squad. Additional state-mandated but unfunded training requirements and planning for capital expenditures for equipment provided the rationale for considering a compassionate billing system for ambulance services. See FAQs related to the proposed EMS revenue recovery at: http://www.gcva.us/RevenueRecovery.pdf
Public comment from Mr. McMullen and Mr. Fried included concerns about drops in donations if a billing system is implemented. Mr. Catalano, the BOS Chair and a volunteer firefighter at the Stanardsville VFD, stated that research has shown a slight decline in donations over the first three years after revenue recovery is implemented. After the first three years, donations appear to level out and remain steady.
During the regular board session, Jim Utterback, Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Culpeper District Administrator, spoke about the growth challenges faced by all nine counties comprising the Culpeper district, the impact of the winter storms and subsequent road damage, and the downsizing of the department. The four major storms brought 78 inches of snow overall to the district. Although budgeted for $80 million dollars, VDOT’s state storm-related expenditures exceeded $240 million dollars. Governor McDonnell has requested a pot hole repair blitz that further increases expenditures.
To reduce rising VDOT expenses, two of the four residency offices (Culpeper and Louisa) are closing. The Warrenton office in the north will serve 5 counties; the Charlottesville office will serve Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, and Louisa counties. VDOT shops in Orange and Louisa have closed and those areas will be served by shops in Culpeper and Zion’s Crossroads. Layoffs in December 2008 and 2009 have brought staffing levels to within 130 employees of those in 2005.
The public hearing with VDOT officials to consider approval of the proposed Six Year Plan revealed that Bacon Hollow Road and Mutton Hollow Road are funded and design is in progress. Simms Road is the priority for fund allocation; at present $61K of the needed $250K has been allocated. There is currently no funding for new construction at the intersection of VA 607 and US 29. The Board unanimously approved the Six Year Plan. The latest VDOT news can be found at: http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/default.asp
Discussion about the awarded allocation of $2,425,596 of Qualified School Construction bonds continued between school officials and the BOS. Kim Powell, Greene County Public Schools (GCPS) Director of Business and Facilities, requested a decision authorizing a public hearing for the May 11 School Board meeting. The Board of Supervisors endorsed a resolution of intent in support of the bond issue. GCPS currently has a $1.8 million bond debt. A result of this investment is anticipated energy cost savings of twenty percent. At current utility rate, after fifteen years, the capital investment would be repaid with the energy savings. Improvements would be mainly related to lighting and water conservation.
Qualified School Construction Bonds are part of an $11 billion allocation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. For more information, see http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/03/03172010a.html