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POSTAL CUSTOMER T he Colonial Beach • Westmoreland Pages 13 Volume 38, Number 20 Wednesday, May 14, 2014 50 Cents helping you relate to your community Insurance for school fire causes heated debate at council meeting Westmoreland County Supervisor Larry Roberson Colonial Beach Schools Superintendent Kathleen Beane showed up at the town council meeting on May 8 to answer any questions that the council may have had. However, after she left, some council members expressed strong feelings towards the school board and voiced their opinions, while Westmoreland County Supervisor Larry Roberson, who is married to School Board Member Vicki Roberson, stood up for the school system as a citizen. Despite a motion by Councilwoman Wanda Goforth to keep public comments to three minutes and groups to five (voted in favor of unanimously), the council meeting last Thursday was consumed with public comments and debate over school information not being relayed in a manner that satisfied all involved. It began with a question from Councilwoman Linda Brubaker, who is the council POC (point of contact) for the school system. Regarding the Jan. 5 early morning fire that gutted the old two-story structure, long abandoned after storm and earthquake damage, Brubaker asked, “Have we heard anything about the insurance?” Beane replied, “Not a word. I actually had a conference call Monday morning with an attorney with the consulting firm that the school board has hired to help us with this issue. They are looking at legal counseling to see if we can get things to move forward.” Beane was asked, “Have we heard anything about the cause of the fire?” to which she replied, “No”. Councilwoman Wanda Goforth followed up on Brubaker’s question, saying, “I thought by law, they had to respond in thirty days.” Beane said, “The insurance has responded, saying basically, they’re not going to give us any money.” Many of the members seemed very surprised by this answer. Beane said that the school may have to go into mediation. She reported that the insurance company (Vacorp) is trying to find every loophole in the contract to get out of paying the claim. Beane said Vacorp has sent a threepage letter with a list of reasons. She agreed to make copies available to the council. Beane ended by saying that they are waiting to hear from the attorney, who seems confident that Vacorp will not be able to get out of their contract for coverage. Vacorp is not a traditional insurance company, but rather an insurance pool; however they still provide coverage. Currently, the only money Vacorp has paid is $100,000 to cover the school’s moving expenses. Beane reported that $75,000 of that money has already been spent. Councilman Jim Chiarello spent a considerable amount of time stating that someone from the school system should call the state corporation commission; he believed that would move things along. During public comments, Glenda Chiarello, wife of Councilman Jim Chiarello, spoke in regards to the school’s news from the insurance company and the proposed real estate tax increase of $0.23. Mrs. Chiarello said, “I was pretty shocked tonight to hear that the insurance claim was denied.” She said to the council that she noticed their faces and could see they were surprised, as well. “I’m just wondering why it wasn’t made clear prior to this; I want to know when the school board found See Debate, page 3 Northern Neck Chevrolet in Montross Celebrates with Grand Re-Opening Tom and Missey Collins, owners of Northern Neck Chevrolet in Montross, celebrated Saturday with several hundred friends and customers as they held the Grand ReOpening of their popular dealership. Northern Neck Chevrolet, the largest auto dealership in the Northern Neck, is the only surviving new car dealership between Fredericksburg and the Chesapeake Bay, and the fact that it has not only survived, but thrived, is a tribute to Tom and Missey. Saturday’s event was the culmination of an extensive remodeling of the dealership, which began last July. The newly remodeled building features a newly refurbished showroom, a larger customer waiting area with a flat screen tv, a coffee bar and even a personal work station for customers. Northern Neck Chevrolet first opened in 1976. Tom Collins and a partner bought the dealership in 1997, and then Collins and Missey bought out the partner and became the sole owners in 2012. Under their leadership, the dealership has “Challenges make you stronger. It’s been tough times, but the support from the community and loyal customers has helped.” —Tom Collins prospered even during difficult economic times. “I have been in the car business since I was 21,” Tom Collins said. “Challenges make you stronger. It’s been tough times, but the support from the community and loyal customers has helped.” Tom and Missey said the secret to their success is treating customers like friends and selling a great Chevrolet product. “We want to make friends,” Tom Collins said. “We try to treat people the way they want to be treated. They are our customers, but they are also our friends.” And, Collins said, “Chevy is making great vehicles.” “I have been a Chevy man since I was 13,” said Collins. “And I am excited about the future. Chevy has great technology. They are safer. We get about 60 percent less warranty work than we did 10 years ago, and they have great lease programs,” Collins said. Tom Collins said the best sellers for the dealership are the powerful, heavy duty Chevrolet Silverado truck, the technology-laden Chevrolet Equinox and the spirited and economical Chevrolet Cruise. And as customers and friends crowded around Tom and Missey Saturday to congratulate them on the remodeled glistening, blue and silver dealership and their latest Chevrolet product line, the success of Northern Neck Chevrolet’s efforts to grow its business was plain for all to see. —Richard Leggitt Tom and Missey Collins were pleased Saturday with the large turnout for the Saturday Grand Re-opening of their Northern Neck Chevrolet dealership in Montross. Westmoreland Supervisors struggle with tight budget Colonial Beach hit hard Search for missing Kayaker with proposed tax hikes Jeryll Dickerson ongoing As state and federal funding to localities has been reduced, local governments across the country have been forced to tighten their belts. At the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors meeting in Montross on Monday, county officials made it plain that Westmoreland County is facing the same challenges as many other localities. “It is not all pie in the sky now,” said Board Chairman Darryl Fisher. “We are down where the rubber meets the road.” As the board discussed needed funding for programs like comprehensive services for disadvantaged children, social services and transportation, it was clear that despite Westmoreland County’s efforts to maintain a reserve for troubled times, the county is struggling with a very tight budget. The board did approve an $81,000 supplemental appropriation for comprehensive services, but warned agency officials not to ask for more. “We are at the bottom of the well,” said Supervisor W.W. Hynson. “We can’t keep going there.” The appropriation will be added to $188,000 in additional funding the state is providing for comprehensive services for children. The state and federal governments are also providing the county with an additional $46,900 for social services programs. Westmoreland County Supervisor Larry Roberson informed the CB Town Council that the county supervisors would meet on Monday. He said that like everyone else, the county’s planning to raise taxes. “The county is looking at a $0.04 per $100 increase” (in real estate taxes). Roberson said the county will hold their public hearing on the matter but will drag it out until the last possible moment. The county, like the town, has advertised high at $0.04; however, they can come down from that. The county is waiting for the state to release their budget, which could have an impact on the amount of increase the county charges. Roberson explained that the Northern Neck (NN) is “at the end of the line” for federal and state funding. He said this poses a problem to NN residents because when federal and state spending is cut, the area is left with mandated programs that must be funded by the localities; that raises citizens’ taxes. Roberson said that the county is looking at mandates to raise funding to Social Services and the Juvenile Detention Center, just to name two. CB Councilwoman Linda Brubaker asked Roberson if the Northern Neck Regional Jail is Westmoreland County is receiving $1.2 million less in revenue this year than it did in 2013. In addition to federal and state funding, county tax revenues are down as a result of the continuing economic slowdown. The bad news continued Monday as David Brown, the Northern Neck Residency Administrator for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, reviewed “changes in projected revenue dollars” for secondary road projects in the county. Brown told the supervisors the state was dramatically reducing state funding for roads in Westmoreland County. Brown suggested the supervisors, who were visibly discouraged by his presentation, look for funding alternatives through other state and federal transportation programs. In other board meeting developments Monday, Colonial Beach Mayor Mike Ham introduced new Colonial Beach Police Chief Libby Legg to the board. And, Colonial Beach Supervisor Larry Roberson announced that the insurance company covering Colonial Beach Elementary School, which burned down in a January fire, was refusing to pay for replacing the building. “It looks like it’s going to the lawyers,” said Roberson. —Richard Leggitt funded by the county or only by money received from federal funding. Roberson explained that because the jail has many leftover beds, the feds do put prisoners there, which opens up funding for the jail. Roberson did confirm that counties contribute, but most of the funding comes from these federal prisoners, and all that money must stay at the jail and cannot be distributed to the counties that contribute. The Town of Colonial Beach has already advertised and has set a public hearing to raise real estate taxes, water and sewer fees and to reinstate the boat tax. The town is advertising: • Reinstating the town’s boat tax by increasing it from $0.01 to $1.39 per $100 in value • Raising sewer usage rates by $25.00 per quarter • Raising water connection fees by $1,000 • Raising real estate tax by $0.23 per $100 of value. Currently, residents of Colonial Beach pay $0.58 per $100 of value. During the May 8 council meeting, Colonial Beach resident and wife of Councilman Jim Chiarello, Glenda Chiarello, spoke to council calculating the tax on what she believes to be the average See CB Taxes, page 3 Westmoreland County Sheriff C.O. Balderson said in a phone interview Tuesday morning that the search for missing kayaker, Jeryll Dickerson, is still ongoing. Balderson said they got a call Wednesday morning, May 7, from the Maryland Natural Resource Police. Westmoreland County joined in to search along the Coles Point and surrounding area shorelines. The first land search was conducted on Wednesday, and both land and water searches continue today. Balderson said that the search is being led by Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Sheriff ’s Office has been coordinating with the lead Investigator, Corporal Chris Morris. Per protocol, Corporal Morris could not divulge any details, but Public Information Officer Candy Thomson of the Maryland Natural Resources Police (MNRP) gave the following account of the events given to the MNRP by witnesses. According to reports, last week, Jeryll Dickerson, 22, and a friend, Matthew Ryan Kerrse, were kayaking on the Potomac River. The pair took off from a Virginia residence on Salisbury Park Road in Coles Point, heading towards Tall Timbers Marina in Maryland. Five people, including Dickerson and Kerrse, who worked together in a restaurant in Woodbridge, left in a group on Tuesday night to visit a vacation home of a co-worker. That residence is located on Salisbury Park Road in Coles Point. The group arrived at the residence at around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 7, and stayed up most of the evening. At sunrise, Dickerson and his friend, Matthew Ryan Kerrse, decided to go for breakfast at the Tall Timbers Marina, located on Herring Creek Rd. across the river in Maryland. They intended to paddle in their kayaks across the Potomac River, according to Kerrse. Thomson said that the area they planned to cross measures about five miles across, and neither of the men were wearing life jackets. Thomson added that Dickerson’s swimming abilities are unknown. At approximately 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday, the two got into separate kayaks and began paddling towards the marina. Dickerson was paddling in a yellow kayak, according to Kerrse. Kerrse told officers that about 15 See kayaker, page 3 Now you can follow local breaking news daily on our website at June 7th beginning at 5:00 pm for details SUMMERFEST 2014 l y r a featuring... The D d n a B s i v a D sponsored by A Summer Fair at Barnesfield Park King George Parks & Recreation presents

5/14/2014 Colonial Beach/Westmoreland VA Local News

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