Council to meet with constitutional officers, defers action on tax calendar

RADFORD – Two employees of one of the city’s constitutional offices pleaded the case for the city to pick up lost state funding during Monday’s city council meeting, and council members agreed to meet with the affected offices in an upcoming work session.

Audrey Long, administrative assistant for the Radford Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, and Liz McCann, the city’s Victim-Witness Coordinator, asked city council to consider providing local funding for some or all of the more than $14,000 in state revenue cuts the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has been levied in the latest round of budget cuts. Long said the entire budget cut for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office will be coming out of her salary, just as a $6,289 cut was earlier this year. Long’s assertion is confirmed by a city council action form from the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office submitted to council, which states the two budget cuts combined would cut Long’s salary from $37,979 to $17,643. Long asked council to consider providing local funding to help the office absorb the cut.

“I have been a dedicated employee and I have served the public,” she said. “It’s my hope that you’ll consider my request.”

McCann also asked council to consider providing local funding, and said as a citizen of Radford she is concerned about wasteful spending by the City. When asked by Councilwoman Laurie Buchwald to provide examples of wasteful spending, McCann pointed to Radnet, the city’s failed broadband Internet system, and the costs associated with the city’s electronic sign at the end of Memorial Bridge.

“I understand beautification, but we can stand to do without these things when it comes to people losing their jobs,” McCann said. “Our office, and the other offices, would greatly appreciate anything you can do.”

Buchwald pointed out that both expenditures McCann referenced occurred before the state cuts to constitutional offices began. Council also voted Monday to surplus much of the wireless broadband equipment to try to sell it.

Vice Mayor Dr. Richard Harshberger called for council members to hold a special meeting with the city’s constitutional officers and heads of other departments affected by state budget cuts, including the police and fire departments and public library. Council member agreed to the meeting, set for Monday, October 26 in a work session. City council members will also be meeting with representatives from Jet Broadband to discuss the company’s franchise agreement to provide cable service in Radford. The work session will start at 6 p.m. to accommodate both issues. The regular council meeting is set for the same evening, starting at 7:30 p.m.

Also during Monday’s council meeting, city council deferred action on changing the city’s tax calendar from a calendar year to a fiscal year.

“There’s still some issues, some questions that have not been completely answered,” said Mayor Thomas Starnes when suggesting council defer action.

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