- Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 January 2009 18:17
- Published on Wednesday, 21 January 2009 18:17
- Hits: 310
The Reverend Darryl Fisher will serve for a fourth year as Chairman of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors. An organizational meeting was held Jan. 5 and veteran District 4 Supervisor Woody Hynson was elected to serve for the fifteenth year as Vice Chairman of the Board.
County Administrator Norm Risavi presided over the first segment of the annual Board of Supervisors organizational meeting. He opened the floor for nominations and Russ Culver, the Republican Supervisor from District 2, immediately nominated Fisher, a fifth term Democrat from District 1.
“Our reasoning,” said Culver, “is that Larry and I discussed rotation of the Chair’s position one year ago, but this year the economy is in disarray. Last year we as a Board looked at what was going to occur [as global economic conditions worsened].
“We worked together as a Board and we have been conservative, working together very effectively to do the citizens’ business. In order for this to continue in 2009, I’m offering a motion for Darryl Fisher to stay on as Chairman for another year.”
Risavi immediately closed the nominations for Chairman of the Board, but District 5 Supervisor Larry Roberson sought an opportunity to speak.
“I still believe we need to rotate,” Roberson commented. “All of us have been elected by the people from our individual districts. Darryl Fisher is a very fine gentleman. I have nothing against him, but I still feel very strongly about the need to rotate the position of Board Chairman on a regular basis."
Risavi called for the vote and it was unanimous.
“I thank all of you,” said Fisher. “I give thanks to my colleagues for giving me the opportunity to serve as Chairman and for the confidence that you have placed in me. It is something I don’t take lightly.”
Fisher then spoke for himself and the Board’s four other members.
“We pledge to continue to do the very best we can,” he told the public.
“During the past year this Board has faced many challenges, but we have not encountered the kinds of infighting that has been seen in other jurisdictions. That isn’t something that has happened to this Board. What we have in Westmoreland County is a Board with well-rounded membership.”
Fisher then opened the floor for nominations for the position of Vice Chair. District 3 Supervisor Lynn Brownley delivered the motion that nominated Woody Hynson, who was elected with another unanimous vote.
Fisher praised Hynson’s services.
“With the two of us being the longest continuously serving members of the Board, I can honestly say it’s been a pleasure to serve as Chairman with Mr. Hynson as Vice Chair,” Fisher related.
“Having him in the position of Vice Chair has nothing to do with him not being capable of service as the Chair. It just takes a mighty mature individual to not push to be the Chair, and Mr. Hynson has always been a source of strong support.”
“I thank the citizens for the privilege of being permitted all these years of service,” Hynson stated.
“I thank the Board for giving me the nomination. Everyone on this Board is a very fine gentleman whose only goal is to make the county where all of us enjoy living a better county.
“2009 is going to be a very difficult year, but there is nothing wrong with being a conservative county when the hard times hit. I remember attending a meeting this past summer, when other counties’ Boards were talking about their very large deficits.
“In Westmoreland County we don’t have to talk about how deeply we are in the hole. That’s because we work together as a Board to make Westmoreland a better county and a county we can all feel lucky to live in.”
Later in this Monday’s session Admiral Robert Fountain took advantage of a public comment segment to express satisfaction with the local government’s leadership.
“I have worked very closely with the county government for quite a number of years,” Fountain commented. “Our people have been extremely well served by the County Administrator and the Board of Supervisors.
“You all are lightening rods at times,” Fountain then stated. “But the people have been well served by the continuity brought by the senior members of this Board. I am not convinced rotation is the best way to proceed.
“The Westmoreland County board is evenly divided,” Fountain said of the individual members’ political affiliations. “You have demonstrated an ability to work together closely and harmoniously. I feel sure this will continue for the remainder of your terms.”
By Betsy Ficklin
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 19:58
- Published on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 19:58
- Hits: 321
Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher’s opening remarks this Monday morning included an observation that divine “blessings have really smiled on Westmoreland County.”
Fisher credited “divine intervention” for the fact “that we are in better [financial] shape than other jurisdictions.” That was 9:30 in the morning and members of the public would have to wait nearly twelve hours to learn just how providence had in fact intervened.
The day and evening’s frozen temperatures and the global economic freeze did not impede the effort of the Westmoreland County local government to unload its industrial shell building and surrounding 25 acres that have been empty for approximately one decade.
This Monday night the Westmoreland Supervisors and Industrial Development Authority returned from their closed door meeting and the Authority very quickly accepted the proposal made by The O’Gara Training Facility and Academy Initiative to pay the jurisdiction $679,178 for the empty industrial shell building and its surrounding grounds.
The security firm will additionally buy a privately owned wooded tract of approximately 325 acres that is immediately adjacent to the county government’s industrial shell building property and is situated in the rear.
When the Supervisors and Industrial Development Authority returned from their joint closed session, King George resident Ron Boline delivered the buyer’s power point presentation to the small group of interested county residents who waited to attend the recessed portion of the Supervisors’ January meeting. The session did not adjourn until approximately 10:30 on Monday night.
Boline holds the position of Tactical Operations Branch Manager with The O’Gara Group’s Training and Services Division whose address is 1120 Euro Rally Road, Alton, Virginia. The O’Gara Group is based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The long-awaited presentation from the shell building buyers included a mission statement explaining that “The O’Gara Training and Services Division’s Training Facility and Academy seeks to provide a world-class tactical training and services facility that increases the level of professionalism to enhance the capabilities of Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies and security professionals supporting the United States of America’s initiatives and policies.”
The company objectives segment that followed described intentions to create “a world-class training facility and academy that supports training requirements of The O’Gara Group customers, promotes economic development of Westmoreland County and the Northern Neck area of Virginia [and] is a good neighbor within the community.”
The public learned that the establishment will maintain its reputation of conducting operations in a manner that “is environmentally conscious and compliant with all applicable regulations and best practices, [providing] a safe, yet challenging, environment for Local, State, and Federal law enforcement, government agencies and their supporting personnel to refine enabling skills critical to national defense.”
The O’Gara Group was described as “a leading provider of advanced security products and training solutions to aid in the global war on terrorism and to enhance Homeland Security.”
The Group has three business divisions. The Sensor Systems Division or SSD manufactures night vision equipment and tagging, tracking and locating devices. The Group’s Advanced Transparent and Mobile Systems Divisions manufactures armored vehicles and support materials.
The third division that is now expected to locate in Westmoreland County is the Training and Services Division or TSD that provides O’Gara Group clients with “innovative tactical and security training and services solutions to satisfy emerging requirements.”
The public learned that O’Gara’s TSD “provides comprehensive tactical and security training solutions through its tactical operations, technical services, preparedness and response and international training branches.
The tactical operations training facility that had been temporarily located in the Danville, area’s Virginia International Raceway will relocate to the tract described as approximately 2.5 miles south of Montross on State Route 3.
A training academy or school will be established on the 350-acre site. According to Richard Stuart, the attorney representing O’Gara Group on Monday evening, due to existing zoning in Westmoreland County the local government’s review of the new development will be limited to the county officials’ January 12 deliberations and Westmoreland Land Use Office’s administrative review of the project’s site plan.
The training facility will have capacity “to teach up to 120 personnel simultaneously in classroom and practical skills.” Curriculum will include academic offerings, motor vehicle driving skills, physical fitness, personal security tactics, techniques and procedures, and weapons handling/marksmanship training.
The facility will include a 1.5 mile driving course, an off-road driving course, development of a simulated urban training area of six square city blocks, student lodging and dining accommodations, a gymnasium, an obstacle/fitness course, ten small arms shooting ranges with reaches that vary from 50 to 1,000 yards and a complex of classrooms and laboratories.
The projected total cost of the completed facility is $20 million and the annual operating budget is projected to range from eight to nine million dollars if current valuations hold. Local suppliers will be utilized when possible for labor, consumables and materials.
The facility will carry what the presentation described as a “large potential for growth,” and will have only “minimal impact” to the county’s fire and rescue resources. Utilities already are in place.
Economic benefits cited in the presentation were additional tax revenues for the county and the state, local purchase of materials when feasible, use of local sub-contractors when possible, and engagement of general construction contractors having “specific military experience.”
The facility will have 22 full-time employment positions and will budget $900,000 a year for salaries. There will also be 60 part-time positions that include scenario role players, part-time on call instructors, mechanics, food service workers, facility support employees, IT support and administrative personnel.
Environmental impacts were addressed in the presentation and the public learned that the training facility will be “minimally intrusive to the environment,” with approximately one-third of the acreage utilized for instructional purposes.
Lead containment and best practices that go beyond the minimum required will be utilized, as will training range noise abatement and reduction measures, minimized night fire and mufflers installed on all training vehicles.
The establishment has promised “continuous environment protection of Westmoreland County. The large tract’s timber management plan will be continued and expanded and a wildlife management plan will be coordinated with state and local authorities. The facility will additionally coordinate and cooperate with local hunt clubs and concerned or interested citizens.
Safety was addressed and citizens learned on Monday night that the new training facility will make Westmoreland County “a safer place. Local responders [will] use [the] facility for training at no cost,” a teen driving program will offer four classes each year and the establishment will hire off-duty local law enforcement employees to serve as role players.
Citizens received assurances that the establishment has a “history of safe training,” that there have been “no significant injuries to students at our training facility in Alton, Virginia” and that as many as 50 students were trained in the Alton facility in a single 12-month interval.
The final section of the December 12 presentation to local residents expressed the goal of the O’Gara Group to “be a good neighbor and economic partner to Westmoreland County and the Northern Neck.”
Work on the new facility is expected to begin in the upcoming weeds, with classes beginning as quickly as August or September. The empty 50,000-square foot industrial shell building will be transformed into a 125-occupant student dormitory, gymnasium, kitchen, dining facility, office and garage.
Proceeds from the sale will allow the local government to retire the public debt associated with creation of the industrial park and its industrial shell building’s construction.
Remaining proceeds from the sale can now be utilized by the local government to launch the long-awaited industrial development initiative in the Washington District sewer’s service area.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 January 2009 20:00
- Published on Wednesday, 07 January 2009 20:00
- Hits: 196
A published report not quite one month ago detailing County Attorney Tom Bondurant’s contract with Westmoreland County’s local government sparked a not unanticipated response from local residents having concerns about how they will find money to pay the next round of real estate taxes.
The group of residents who came together as the Westmoreland County Citizens Association in late 2007 attempted to influence the county’s Board of Supervisors in Spring 2008, when a new county budget was being prepared.
The group maintained that more must be done to conserve the county’s finite financial resources. Suggestions were brought forward but generally failed to make it into the local government budget that was adopted by the Board.
Most recently an Association spokesperson urged the Westmoreland Supervisors to eliminate the position of the County Attorney.
“It may be better just to pay for legal services as they are needed, like a lot of other Northern Neck counties do,” the spokesperson told the members of the Board.
Review of Bondurant’s contract and other information gathered by the citizens’ group revealed that Westmoreland County paid its County Attorney just under $60,000 during the 12-month budget period that stretched from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008.
Bondurant was hired to advise the Westmoreland Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors and he earns $36,000 a year for attending the monthly Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings and for advising the County Administrator and Westmoreland’s usually inactive Industrial Development authorities.
The County Administrator can authorize the County Attorney to provide legal advice to other local government agencies or departments, but the Westmoreland Social Services Department must engage a legal advisor of its own.
Bondurant’s additional services to Westmoreland County are compensated at a rate of $90 per hour and a private citizen recently collected information detailing payments the County Attorney has received for those additional services that could duties associated with appearances in the courts on the county government’s behalf and work on county sewer systems.
The information in hand indicates that in July 2008 Bondurant was paid his monthly salary of $3,000 and additional payments of $154.00 and $3,060.00. In August 2008 he received the contracted $3,000 and an extra $$2,394.00.
Aside from the regular monthly earnings of $3,000, Bondurant was paid an extra $$720.00 in September, an additional $1,665.00 in October, and an additional $2,205.00 in November 2008.
As of January 6 the public has not seen accounts detailing the County Attorney’s December 2008 earnings, but the Citizens Association has not forgotten the suggestion its spokesman presented to the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors.
From July 1, 2008 until November 30 the records indicate that Westmoreland paid its part-time County Attorney $25,198. The current budget cycle’s earnings appear consistent with the payments made to Tom Bondurant in the county government’s prior fiscal year.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 January 2009 19:45
- Published on Wednesday, 07 January 2009 19:45
- Hits: 319
Members of the public who turned out for this Monday’s Westmoreland County Planning Commission meeting were surprised when someone advised them to read the notice on a nearby English Building door.
Nearly an hour had passed and there were no Planning Commissioners or county government land use staff. Citizens and newspaper employees who gathered in the English Building foyer did what they always do prior to local government meetings.
The conversations that ensued were pleasant enough, but when the sign on the door was brought to everyone’s attention there was some embarrassment. The computer-generated message had been posted in plain enough view for anyone to see.
“There were no cases scheduled for the January 5, 2009 Planning Commission meeting, therefore, no meeting was advertised and no meeting will be held in the General District courtroom January 5, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.,” was the message taped to that George D. English Building door.
The Journal’s reporter and one member of the public trekked down the building’s dark rear hall to question local government land use staff and learned that the message was posted at approximately 11 o’clock that morning.
“We had already notified the Planning Commissioners,” a land use employee told the reporter and the Westmoreland County resident. “We did what we were required to do.”
In the absence of a meeting there was no opportunity for the public to meet the jurisdiction’s new District 4 Planning Commissioner, Jimmy Coates. On December 1 longtime District 4 Commissioner Brick Thomas had said goodbye to his Commission colleagues and the county’s land use staff. The following Monday Westmoreland Supervisors appointed Coates to represent District 4 on the Commission.
Newspaper employees, private citizens and an associate from the Allison, Baird and Sehl civil engineering and land surveying firm may have shared the expectation that the session would include information about the number of Comprehensive Plan survey returns received by the Northern Neck Planning District Office during December.
When too few citizens completed and returned the three-page survey document, the Westmoreland Planning Commission directed the Planning District Office to extend the period for accepting the returns.
The 30-day extensions were authorized by the Commissioners in November and also in December, with the understanding that the returns would be tabulated by Planning District staff and made available to Planning Commissioners as soon as February.
According to the Planning Commission discussion that occurred on December 1, the Commission would hold an evening meeting in March, when survey results would be shared with members of the Westmoreland County public.
During the same March meeting Westmoreland’s Planning Commissioners would have an opportunity to contribute input of their own and public comment on the topic would also be received.
In the absence of a January Planning Commission meeting, selection of the new year’s Planning Commission officers will be delayed until February 2. During 2008 Rob McDermott served as Commission Chair and Richard Moncure held the position of Vice Chair.
Westmoreland County lost its Zoning Administrator, Gary Ziegler, to cancer during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday and the position has not been filled. If Ziegler had survived and if the Commission had met, that county government employee would have been charged with presiding over the meeting until the Commissioners would select a presiding officer for calendar 2009.
Zoning Administrator/Planning Director Ziegler left two Land Use Office assistants, Charlie Wrightson and Beth McDowell. The two land use employees currently share the duties of a Zoning Administrator and Director of Planning.
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 2008 18:23
- Published on Wednesday, 31 December 2008 18:23
- Hits: 392
During the last meeting before the holidays began, members of the Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors delivered a unanimous vote to renew Northern Neck Landscaping’s snow removal contract.
Frank Swann, Jr. is President of Northern Neck Landscaping and Swann submitted the only proposal in response to the local government’s contractor solicitation. No member of the Westmoreland County Board could recall when another contractor had performed those duties.
The Board’s three veteran members praised the reliability and quality of Northern Neck Landscaping’s previous performance.
“This contractor has done it for Westmoreland County many times and the figures in the proposal are right in line with what the costs have been in the past,” District 4 Supervisor Woody Hynson told the other members of the Board.
“I see nothing wrong with the bid. I think we’d better accept it and move on,” Hynson said seconds before he introduced a formal motion to accept the contractor’s snow removal bid.
Northern Neck Landscaping will be paid for each snow or sleet event that requires the contractor’s services. The proposal included a $425.00 preparation charge.
“The prep cost,” Swann explained in a December 3 correspondence addressed to the five Westmoreland Supervisors, “is due to time it takes for men to hook up the snow removal equipment and inspect the trucks.
“[The preparation fee] also covers cost of coming out before work is to commence and assessing if conditions warrant snow removal.”
The proposal includes reimbursement for the contractor’s purchase of multiple 50-pound bags of de-icing materials. Ten county properties were included in the bid.
The A. T. Johnson Human Services building parking area will be cleared at a cost of $250 for each of the season’s snow removal occurrences. The George D. English Building’s parking area will likewise cost $250 to clear each time it snows.
The Sheriff’s Office parking area’s clearing will cost $125 and it will cost $120 to clear the Hague library road and parking area. The Animal Shelter road and parking area will be cleared for a $110 charge.
The Carmel Church convenience site and trash disposal area will cost $95 to clear. The Montross library’s parking area will be cleared for $85. The old court house and museum parking area will be cleared for $75 and the Montross-Westmoreland wastewater treatment plant’s access road and parking area will be cleared at a cost of $75.
“Everything appears to be in order,” District 23 Supervisor Lynn Brownley noted. “We can award the contract and be ready for the snow.”
Board of Supervisors Chairman Darryl Fisher advised citizens attending the Board’s December meeting that in the event that there is no frozen winter precipitation, Northern Neck Landscaping will receive no payments from the local government.
“And that probably won’t happen,” a private citizen remarked. “It wouldn’t be winter if it didn’t snow.”
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 2008 18:21
- Published on Wednesday, 31 December 2008 18:21
- Hits: 219
District 3 Supervisor Lynn Brownley has spent his life in Westmoreland County and considers himself a fairly keen observer of what has worked and what has failed to deliver the desired economic development objectives in the still rural jurisdiction he calls home.
Brownley had a special place on the Supervisors’ meeting agenda last Monday night, presenting the white paper he had promised during the previous month’s session that outlined portions of the economic development initiative he hopes Board colleagues will embrace.
“I believe that Westmoreland County needs to undertake a specific, targeted and comprehensive initiative to better promote our County and foster business and commercial growth, both from within and without,” the Supervisor told Board colleagues and county residents.
“Our County Administrators, Planning District Commission, Regional Partnership and State Economic Development representatives have worked hard in the past, occasionally with some reasonable success. At other times we have just missed sealing the deal.
“Opportunities have been created and certainly a few have been realized, yet we must do much more to avoid continued stagnation and dependence solely on a growing retiree tax base.”
The presence of the manufacturing enterprise known as Carry-On Trailer in the county’s industrial park was cited as an example of a successful past economic development initiative. The failure to recruit an industry willing to locate in the industrial park’s shell building is a glaring reminder of one or more missed opportunities.
Brownley presented a warning about allowing the local government to continue to rely on creation of ever more retirement communities on the county’s waterfront. With limited opportunities to raise the necessary revenue, ever more pressure is placed on the county’s landowners, a trend the District 3 Supervisor hopes his economic development proposal might offset.
“Given the general economic landscape our county faces and the special challenges facing our rural community, we should locate and consider engaging a specialist,” Brownley reasoned.
“That person would articulate and lead in the development of a strategy to increase our community potential, identify businesses that fit a desired profile, those that have compatible goals, that can utilize existing governmental and private resources and can grow with us in the foreseeable future.
“Most especially, we need direct assistance to broaden and encourage our current entrepreneur class. I conclude that we can no longer be passive or merely react to inquiries. We surely must make some of our own luck and be diligent about it.”
Brownley cited the Montross establishment known as The Art of Coffee as being a successful example of the kind of entrepreneurial initiative needed in Westmoreland.
“After many months of study, numerous discussions, several meetings, and probing ideas and approaches with certain persons in the field, I suggest to the Board that we pursue our own county version of economic encouragement.
“Along the way we might also truly conserve some of our natural resources in a meaningful way. We should market proactively Westmoreland County.
“We should promote and enhance tourism and recreational values, create more options for landowners, and develop, including promotional schemes, value-added events. I can provide some examples of successful efforts in other jurisdictions.”
Brownley presented a list of interrelated activities he considered essential to launch a successful economic development initiative. Public relations, communications, target marketing, identification of compatible businesses and encouragement and assistance for entrepreneurs already operating in Westmoreland were included near the top of the activity list he shared.
Other initiatives included fundraising help for broader community endeavors, creating a liaison between businesses and the Board of Supervisors, revitalizing and supporting the Chambers of Commerce in Westmoreland County and the Town of Colonial Beach, creating and improving content for the county government’s new website, assisting with parts of the Comprehensive Plan amendment and “anything else related and productive.”
“If strategically planned, these tasks and engagements can be complementary, one to another, and benefits would accrue as multi-motivated effects,” Supervisor Brownley reasoned.
“I have some further thoughts on budgeting, describing what we should expect, how we may utilize some funds, how to approach costs and investment, and how we can readily build a team.
“Several citizens and a few other officials have effectively reached similar conclusions. Some see parallel paths with involvement of community investors and recreational/tourist experiences.
“People’s use of their property must prove profitable. We can harness certain change and use it to propel us toward more community capacity and a sustainable lifestyle in the long run.”
Brownley then related that despite his belief in the initiatives he has proposed, he continues “to harbor grave concerns as to the present need and obligation to preserve and retain not just the properties that have been set aside as open land, but larger areas of mature forest, buffered productive agricultural tracks, and corridors along the county’s waterways.
“I have come to realize that successful, forward-reaching initiatives of commerce may serve to predicate the literal ‘heritage-keeping’ of more of the lands, woods and waters that can still provide us and others with some pride and peace,” he said.
“Most pertinently, we should try harder now to define and invent our future here. To revere the past and supercharge our history is important to us and to our visitors.
Brownley advised that the actions he proposes are needed is Westmoreland County is to improve its “tax base and [create] opportunities for our own citizens to really improve our community, to help us direct growth, and to give us the impetus we need to continue our rural lifestyle.
“I am certain,” he then stated, “we can make provision if we describe our vision and pursue a planned approach to economic encouragement.
“We must face, and to a large extent, embrace our future. Tough times are here, but we can use wisdom long-term and prepare for action now.
“I would appreciate your thoughts, concerns, queries, suggestions, modifications and objections to what I outline here. This,” said Brownley, “is an elementary approach, but it is a better model for tomorrow in the Northern Neck.”
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:25
- Published on Wednesday, 24 December 2008 19:25
- Hits: 242
At a meeting last Friday longtime Bay Aging employee Patsy Taylor delivered a briefing to Westmoreland Social Services Board that detailed services the 30-year-old non-private establishment delivers to disabled and elderly residents in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula’s ten counties.
As was reported in last week’s Journal, Bay Aging is in immediate danger of losing $18,961 of the state funding used to support the program known as Meals on Wheels. Another $29,779 supporting adult health services and day-care could be lost.
Earlier this month the Westmoreland Supervisors joined counterparts from the nine other Bay Aging county boards in asking that the General Assembly overturn the funding reduction specified in Governor Tim Kaine’s cost saving measures.
“We have always had a wonderful working relationship with Bay Aging and are very disturbed about the cuts the Governor has proposed,” Westmoreland Social Services Department Director Helen Wilkins told Taylor and the members of the county’s Social Services Board.
“And it now looks like there will be another round of cuts,” Taylor responded. “The prospects aren’t looking very good for the Medicaid recipients, either.”
Taylor noted that Bay Aging’s Meals on Wheels program and Bay Transit are probably “the most visible” of the services offered by that entity.
“We started small thirty years ago, but we have grown,” she said of the services delivered to elderly and disabled members of the community.
Bay Aging is a Medicaid personal care provider, but health services offerings are diverse.
The CareMatch Personal Care Assistant Program encompasses multiple in-home care options which Bay Aging describes as friendly visiting, reading, writing, errands, meal preparation, light housekeeping tasks just about anything else a recipient may request.
“We deliver an array of services to help forestall nursing home placement,” said Taylor of the cost saving alternatives to taxpayer-subsidized payments to expensive nursing homes.
“We work very closely with Social Services here in Westmoreland,” said Taylor.
Wilkins agreed. “We can deliver services more effectively to people who are in crisis when our resources can be pooled.”
Bay Aging’s Home Care program provides long-term care for frail and at-risk housebound individuals who receive assistance with their daily living activities.
That assistance includes help with dressing, bathing, grooming, housekeeping and meals preparation.
Respite for Caregivers is a program that provides opportunities for stress relief and personal time. The In-Home Personal Care program delivers companionship and medical services.
Bay Aging sponsors support groups for local residents who must care for Alzheimer’s patients. The monthly meetings offer both comfort and support. Another program offers mechanisms for contacting aging services throughout the United States.
The Legal Aid component can provide individual representation for legal advice. Another offering is participation in the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program that “educates, counsels and assists older consumers on medical benefit programs and long-term care insurance.
The Adult Day Break program “addresses the needs of persons age eighteen-plus who are nursing home eligible and who are at the greatest risk of institutionalization,” a Bay Aging brochure advises.
“Most of the clients have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, while the younger adults have sever mental and physical disabilities.” Those individuals can be provided with care and supervision, meals and snacks, activities, health monitoring, games, support and respite groups and mental stimulation.
Bay Aging operates a Retired Senior Volunteer Program most commonly known as RSVP. Over a thousand people from ten different counties share knowledge and expertise, providing friendship and delivering services that reach thousands of individuals.
Active Lifestyle Centers are operated in each of Bay Aging’s ten counties and the one in Colonial Beach is heavily utilized. Centers serve as community focal points provide socialization opportunities through supportive group programs and opportunities for fun.
Not the least of Bay Aging’s local contributions has been its creation of affordable residential communities for the region’s older residents. Bay Aging established a community in Colonial Beach known as The Meadows and established Mill Pond Village and Parker Run in the Montross area.
Bay Family Housing offers opportunities for homeowners and others who desire to own a home. Bay Aging played a major role in Westmoreland County’s Monroe Hall community redevelopment project, and the list of local accomplishments goes on and on and on.
When Westmoreland Housing Coalition ceased its operations, Bay Aging assumed the lead role in administration of the jurisdiction’s indoor plumbing, emergency home repair and weatherization efforts.
Bay Aging delivers urgent need services in coordination with disaster relief initiatives, provides housing counseling and even conducts homebuyer education classes.
The service outreach to the disabled and the elderly provides professionally certified care coordinators who assess individual living situations and determine what may be the best, most cost-effective option. Charges are based on a client’s ability to pay.
To receive Bay Aging’s services, one need not be elderly.
“Our primary mission is to help seniors and people with disabilities of all ages live independently and safely in their own communities for as long as possible,” Taylor emphasized.
“Our plans are guided by the immediate needs of our communities’ seniors and the general demands of our rapidly aging population,” said Bay Aging President Allyn Gemerek.
“One issue remains at the forefront of all others for seniors and people with disabilities – the need for independence, to be able to live their lives with dignity.”
Bay Aging is governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the governing bodies of the member jurisdictions. The Board establishes policy and provides staff oversight.
Programs and services are funded through the Older Americans Act, grants, federal, state and local government contributions and private donations. As local, state, federal and even global economies become increasingly stressed, private donations and volunteerism become more crucial than even in Bay Aging’s 30-year experience.
Tax deductible contributions can be mailed to Bay Aging at P.O. Box 610, Urbanna, VA 23175, with checks payable to the Bay Aging Foundation.
“Donations are not used to subsidize administrative costs,” Taylor stated on Friday. “donated monies are used to support the services we provide.”
“And you’re delivering a lot of wonderful services,” Westmoreland Social Services Board Chair F. C. “Doc” Dugan told Bay Aging employee Patsy Taylor. “Folks have no idea how many things you do. Congratulations for doing such a fine job for all these years.”
“They are wonderful to work with,” Director Wilkins told the members of the Social Services Department Board.
Bay Aging maintains a Montross office and can be reached at 493-0238. “Please tell your readers,” said Taylor, “that we are always happy to accept new volunteers."