Public Comments for 01/28/2022 Appropriations
Dear Senators, Alleghany County and our neighboring localities face a very serious situation regarding state responsible inmates. In FY2021 Alleghany County spent $673,050 to house inmates in other facilities with our overflow being directly attributable to state-responsible inmates. Over the past three years we have spent $1,557,090.78 because our regional jail is overflowing while state prisons were operated at less than their rated capacity. We specifically ask that the Commonwealth fully reimburse localities for the cost of housing inmates that are clearly the responsibility of the Commonwealth. The current lack of financial responsibility by the State is a backdoor way of balancing this portion of the state budget on the backs of local governments. We are desperate and are sincerely asking your help in reimbursing this local cost. By simply not transferring state-responsible inmates into the state prison system, the Commonwealth is severely affecting local budgets. This added cost is significant, uncontrollable and unpredictable. In short, it is the worst possible kind of backdoor forced transfer of local tax revenue to the state. We sincerely hope that the General Assembly will address this problem in the current legislative session considering the State's current inflow of substantial financial resources. Please let me know what we can do to be of assistance in addressing this significant problem. Sincerely, Pete Huber Interim Alleghany County Administrator Cell 540 440-0308 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello all. I am the City Manager for Lexington. Along with Rockbridge County and the City of Buena Vista we run a regional jail serving our communities. On an annual basis for a number of years we have housed state responsible inmates and had to foot the bill, without full compensation from the state. We understand that state prison beds are often not available. We also understand that Covid has made it difficult to house inmates and reduced staff available in the state prisons. However, lets be realistic, locally we have the same issues with Covid and staffing that you have and we do not have the option of pushing inmates off on anybody else, as has been the practice of the DOC. In addition, this practice by the state started well before Covid and has been a standard operating procedure of the DOC. To be fair, it is not really the fault of the DOC, they have not been allocated sufficient funding. We also understand you cannot create new beds, in new jails overnight. All that being said - we are willing to do our part and support an efficient and humane correctional system in the Commonwealth. We just want to be fairly paid for the costs of housing state inmates. On behalf of my local counterparts here, please support Item 404 # 22h; HB 989 sponsored by Delegate Runion. Locally the amount we get shorted by the state is hundreds of thousands of dollars annually between our 3 localities. These dollars are then taken away from local funding for fire, law enforcement, schools and infrastructure replacement. Again, we are happy to do our part, however, please provide the financial support we deserve. Thank you!
Delegate Runion - Item 404 # 22 h; HB 989 - Compensation of Local Jails for Costs of Incarceration. Virginia First Cities is very supportive of this budget amendment request to fund local jails at a reasonable level, when housing state responsible inmates and urges the House to endorse this effort. We hear from our 16 fiscally stressed member cities that the lack of financial responsibility by the state is truly an unfunded mandate that is wreaking havoc with our local budgets. Curing this inequity is hugely important to us. We ask that you PLEASE support this by funding Item 404 #22h and passing HB 989. Thank you!
1) Del. Simon and Del. McQuinn HB 29/30 - Move Item 456 # 3 & 4 h to Item 451, $1 million This amendment moves the evaluation and study out of the funding pot for local roads to the more appropriate section in the VDOT budget. The budget amendment also supports the Nov. 2021 JLARC study of Transportation that found that there is no central collection of pavement conditions on secondary or other urban roads. The data collection needs to be evaluated and brought into the 21st century. The companion amendment provides $1.0 million each year to conduct this evaluation. 2) Del Simon and Del McQuinn HB 30 - Item 456 #2 h; $30 million in each year for deposit to the highway share of the Transportation Trust Fund to support the maintenance and repair of locally maintained roads.
Testimony of Dr. Jeffrey Feit, Population Health and Community Health Officer Valley Health System House Appropriations Committee January 28, 2022 I want to thank the Chairman, Delegate Wiley and all members of the Appropriations Committee for the opportunity to testify on behalf of Valley Health System and in support of this budget amendment. My name is Dr. Jeffrey Feit and I am the Population Health and Community Health Officer for Valley Health System, a nonprofit health system serving a population of more than 500,000 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This is Karen Dorr, the Director of Behavioral Health at Valley Health. Valley Health is proposing to expand the Northwestern Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center (CITAC). Currently this center operates only part of the day and only for adults. This funding will expand the space, provide funding for law enforcement, expand access to 24 hours, 7 days a week and serve adolescents in addition to adults. At a time when Emergency rooms and Psychiatric facilities are under growing pressure related to volume, this crisis center decompresses these areas and frees Emergency room and law enforcement officials to attend to their other duties. Without this crisis intervention center, these patients typically occupy emergency department beds for long periods, creating safety concerns for patients and staff while failing to provide the needed therapeutic environment and care most beneficial for these patients. This funding request would also support a Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center where Valley Health, in partnership with the Community Services Board and law enforcement agencies, would leverage its operational and philanthropic investments to improve psychiatric care. The addition of a Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center alongside this crisis center improves earlier access to care preventing extended ED visits and hospitalizations for patients who could be managed as outpatients. This relieves the burden on Law Enforcement who collaborate to ensure safety when these patients are in the ED. In addition, the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center would provide for safe discharge planning, again preventing escalating illness. By providing earlier access to behavioral health care services and preventing escalation to acute illness, the urgent care center would reduce the inpatient psychiatry bed needs at our local facility and in our state hospitals. Valley Health strongly supports this budget amendment, as it would greatly improve behavioral health outcomes in the Commonwealth. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of this important issue and we’d be happy to take any questions.
Friends of the Rappahannock supports budget amendment 374 #2h submitted by Delegate Bobby Orrock. This budget amendment supports two positions in the Office of Environmental Education to develop and implement a Virginia Strategic Plan for environmental literacy in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Science Museum of Virginia STEM program, and other relevant stakeholders. These positions will also work with local districts to connect them to the curriculum resources, professional development, and local programs to offer these types of learning opportunities to all students. Thank you for your consideration and we hope you will support 374 #2h.
Honorable Delegates, I am submitting comments on behalf of the Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors in support of Delegate RunionsItem#404 #22h; HB 989. I have attached a resolution recently adopted by my Board urging the General Assembly to fund actual costs of state-responsible inmates housed at the Rockbridge Regional Jail. The true local cost pushed onto our small community just last year was in excess of $600,000. That is nearly three cents on our real estate tax rate. Rockbridge County, along with the Cities of Lexington and Buena Vista (partners in our regional jail) are begging for relief in this area, as are other local and regional jails such as our neighbors to the west, Alleghany and Bath Counties and the City of Covington. Respectfully, Spencer Suter Rockbridge County Administrator