Friday, April 29, 2011

Funding the Virginia Cooperative Extension Agency tops public hearing as does deer culling

4-H Supporters

Twenty-three speakers took to the podium at Roanoke City’s public hearing on the 2012 budget Thursday night. Eleven of the speakers praised the Virginia Cooperative Extension for its work in the valley and pressed for its continued funding.

Council had asked for justification of the $32,000 earmarked for the VCE. There was some discrepancy as to whether city administration had received the information from the VCE on the services provided to justify the funding.

There was plenty of justification from six youngsters of 4-H and countless garden groups and landscapers.

The 4-H was out in force with a very articulate Jordan Watts a sophomore at Patrick Henry. Watts who has been with 4-H for seven years said that, “it has provided me with leadership rolls and opportunities and taught me not to be afraid of who I am.” Watts said that 4-H has helped her overcome insecurity. Anticipation of camp builds excitement the whole year. “I even count down days until camp which is [now] 81 days,” said Jordan producing grins from council members.

Jordan Watts (right) supports 4-H

Council members Bill Bestpitch, Sherman Lea, Anita Price, Court Rosen and Mayor Bowers were on the dais.

Four spoke for funding Brian Injury for Southwest Virginia. They asked for ten percent of their $180,000 budget from the city of Roanoke. Helen Butler the mother of brain injury survivor Katherine Nash stated that of 47 localities that are served half of them contribute to the service. Twenty percent of the clients are city residents she said.

Former council member and preservation activist Rupert Cutler asked for initiation of storm water utility fees for a more aggressive storm water management program to get ahead of the Clean Water Act.

An unexpected budget saving suggestion came from Braxton Naff who advocated for using urban archery to cull deer rather than spending $75,000 for an outside contractor. If city code allowed urban archery would allow citizens to bow hunt on private property with permission during regular hunting season. This suggestion got accolades from subsequent speakers effected by munching deer.

Mark Peterson of Southeast gave pictures of the deteriorating landscaping that the city had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars creating in the Southeast by Design project years ago. Dead and removed trees and broken curbing was the complaint. He thought the city spends money for new projects while not maintaining completed projects – a waste of city revenue and taxpayer money.

Other speakers were against using the $300,000 for Elmwood Park renovation. Dr. Robert Roth spoke up for Sister Cities and Janet Scheid spoke for funding restoration of the $2600 for the Western Virginia Land Trust.

Councilman Bill Bestpitch put in a plug for electing the right people to prevent budget cuts both from the state and on the federal level. He asked all to be sure to remember that at the ballot box.

Thursday May 5th will be a budget study session at 8:30 a.m. Adoption of the budget will take place on May 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Community, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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