August 25, 2006
Friday was a day for Albemarle County leaders to sound off to state legislators about many issues in the county. From transportation to cost of living for school teachers, to student discipline, Albemarle County leaders and local representatives touched a lot of subjects, all in an effort for everyone to be more informed.
"I can only be as good of a legislator as people force me to be. I learn what's on people's minds," said Senator Creigh Deeds.
To find out what's on people's minds, local legislators met Friday with the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and members of the School Board. The School Board approached legislators about being a part of a program that could bump teacher salaries because of the area's high cost of living.
"One of the proposals would be to include Albemarle County along with those other counties with a really high standard of living . That's a proposal we really need to look at," said Delegate Rob Bell.
"To include us in the Cost to Compete Program can only be a positive benefit for recruiting and keeping quality teachers in the county," said School Board Chair Sue Friedman.
The Supervisors struck second and transportation was the name of the game. The lack of state funding recently concerns the localities who can't pay for such projects as the Meadowcreek Parkway.
"The longer the funding decision is delayed, the worse this problem gets. They need to deal with it now rather than delaying it another year or two years," said Chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Dennis Rooker.
At this point, legislators say no solutions are in sight.
"We don't have a package on the table right now. It is being blocked by certain forces in the General Assembly. We need to get those folks off the dime so we can have a real transportation plan that works for the Commonwealth," said Delegate David Toscano.
"I am confident that reasonable people can sit down and put aside the Democrats and the Republicans for a little bit and come up with a statewide solution," said Senator Deeds.
Legislators head back to Richmond on Monday to tie up some loose ends and continue talks about transportation funding. It remains to be seen if a solution will be found.