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2017 Legislative Program, Initiatives
The City of Chesapeake recognizes the Commonwealth’s current budgetary constraints, but is including seven priority items should funding be available.
Restore the Prevailing Cost Methodology for the Funding of Support Positions that was used prior to FY 2009-2010. This would replace the “Cap” on Support Positions used since FY 2009-2010.
Prior to FY 2009-2010, K-12 school divisions in Virginia were funded for support positions using a formula that was based on prevailing rates (calculated by looking at the number of support positions and the salary for each in all school divisions). This was a more accurate representation of current educational practices in Virginia school divisions.
The Virginia Board of Education published proposed changes to the Standards of Quality on September 22, 2016. They noted that throughout the public hearings on these proposed changes, the need for additional fiscal resources was a predominant theme. Many organizations and individuals including the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties noted that education funding in Virginia following the end of the recession still has not returned to pre-recession levels. As a result, their recommendation states, “because support services positions are essential to effective operation of schools and provide vital support to instructional staff, the General Assembly should return to its prior practice of funding support services to school divisions based upon actual school division practices.” These reductions have resulted a loss of $9 million per year for Chesapeake Public Schools.
Continue to provide Lottery Funds to be Used for School Construction and Operating Expenses as approved in the 2016-2018 biennium budget.
The Virginia Lottery has been in operation since the late 1980s; however, lottery proceeds were not used strictly for K-12 Education until 1999. Until 2000, lottery proceeds were transferred to the state’s general fund and their use was determined by the General Assembly. Beginning in 2001, an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia stated that lottery funds were to be used solely for educational purposes. The following summary provides a history of lottery funds distribution:
- From 1999-2004, forty percent (40%) of the lottery proceeds were paid directly to school divisions for use as either capital or operating support; however, fifty percent (50%) of this amount was required to be used for capital expenditures. This period also saw an increasing portion of the remaining lottery proceeds being used to supplant state general funds for Basic Education funding.
- In FY 04/05, lottery proceeds began to also be used to supplant general funds for incentive and categorical funding for K-12.
- Beginning in FY 08/09:
o All lottery proceeds were provided as operating support for the state’s share of K-12 education funding at the state level.
o Direct payment to school divisions were eliminated.
- In FY 17/18:
o Forty percent (40%) of lottery proceeds are to be paid directly to school divisions for use as either capital or operating support, however fifty percent (50%) of this amount is required to be used for capital expenditures. This restores the pre-recession practice.
Oppose Aligning Pay increases for Public School Employees and State Employees with revenue projections.
Recently the Governor announced a cumulative $1.5 billion shortfall in the state revenue forecast for fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018. As required by law, if the revenue collections are more than one percent (1%) below the forecast, the state must revise the official estimate of its projections. Per language in the Appropriations Act, raises for state employees and public school teachers could not go into effect. The practice of aligning pay increases for these employee groups to revenue projections negatively affects the effort of state agencies and public schools to hire and retain employees. Announcing a pay increase and then changing it is harmful to both the School systems who had already extended contracts and the morale of current employees.
NAVAL AUXILIARY LANDING FIELD (NALF) FENTRESS ENCROACHMENT PROTECTION FUNDING
The City requests continuation of state funding level of $2 million per year to be matched dollar for dollar by the City. The City of Chesapeake remains very appreciative for the Commonwealth’s funding partnership for the purchase of real property to remove or prevent incompatible use of Master Jet Base Oceana and the NALF Fentress.
To date, over 100 acres have been acquired for a cost of approximately $4 million.
JOINT JUVENILE JUSTICE CENTER
The City requests continued support for funding of Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) Transformation Plan and a Joint Juvenile Justice Center in Chesapeake.
As a result of the funding from 2016 Session, DJJ provided the following schedule for the Joint Juvenile Justice Center:
- Citizen information meeting mid-November
- Convey Real Property Deed and $7.5M Cash by January 1, 2018
- Authorize execution of a lease agreement between City and DJJ
- Occupy no later than February 2020
In spring of 2015, the City of Chesapeake was approached by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) seeking a site in Hampton Roads to construct a facility for housing state-responsible juvenile offenders. DJJ’s discussion included exploring the potential of a shared facility with Chesapeake Juvenile Services. Chesapeake’s current juvenile detention facility is out of date based on the Commonwealth of Virginia standards for cost-effective and safe supervision. The current configuration also incurs higher staffing/operating costs due to its design and intensive operations. The City’s current facility was built in 1961 (48 beds) with an addition constructed in 1995 (54 beds). The 1995 addition did not address the necessary and costly electrical and plumbing issues as well as mechanical systems repairs/replacement. The City’s 100 bed detention facility is regional in nature as approximately 40-45 juveniles are Chesapeake residents and 25-30 juveniles are from the surrounding localities of Suffolk, Franklin, Isle of Wight, and Portsmouth.
The local responsible and state responsible populations of the proposed 112 bed joint facility would be separated by “sight and sound”, due to the legal status of these two juvenile populations. Space such as the gymnasium, cafeteria, laundry, classrooms, etc., would be shared with appropriate scheduling. The State’s secured Juvenile Correctional Center would house 64 Hampton Roads juvenile offenders (including Chesapeake) who have been committed to the custody of the State while the City’s Juvenile Detention Center section would house 48 locally responsible (Chesapeake) juvenile residents. The region’s juveniles from surrounding localities would need to find alternative locations for detention purposes. Localities with additional capacity, as well as localities potentially affected by the project, have been contacted regarding this proposal. Youth will have the chance to maximize family, educational, and community engagement at a cost savings to the taxpayers.
CHESAPEAKE PORT AUTHORITY – MERGE WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The Chesapeake Port Authority (“Port Authority”) was created as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia by the Virginia General Assembly, Chapter 397 of the 1987 Acts of Assembly, and amended by Chapter 700 of the 1992 Acts. The Acts provide that the Port Authority shall consist of five members who shall serve terms of four years. There are no term limitations and no “target” member requirements. A member must be a resident of Chesapeake and cannot be a City employee or officer.
Virginia Code Section 15.2-4903 authorizes the governing body of any locality to create by ordinance a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia to be called an “industrial development authority” or “economic development authority.”
By City Code Section 2-646, City Council so created the Chesapeake Economic Development Authority (EDA) pursuant to the Industrial Development and Revenue Bond Act, Code of Virginia, Sections 15.2-4900 through 15.2-4920. The EDA is governed by a board of directors composed of nine members, who are appointed by City Council. Every director shall, at the time of his appointment and thereafter, reside in a locality within which the EDA operates or in an adjoining locality. Directors serve terms of four years, and there are no term limits and no “target” member requirements. No director shall be an officer or employee of the locality.
In order to merge the Port Authority with the EDA, the Acts of Assembly and Title 15.2 would have to be amended to either provide that the Port Authority serve as a component of the EDA or, in the alternative, to dissolve the Port Authority and add additional members to the EDA. In either case, the duties and powers of the Port Authority would need to be aligned with those of the EDA and some of the powers that are exclusive to the Port Authority, such as the power of eminent domain, may need to be shared.
CLARIFYING CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE PROSECUTION OF LOCAL EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL ACT / STORMWATER ENFORCEMENT VIOLATIONS
Request to amend Virginia Code Section 62.1-44.15:63, 62.1-44.32, and 62.1-44.15: to allow a locality to enact an ordinance providing that the criminal penalties for violation of erosion and sediment control and stormwater management program laws may be prosecuted by the Office of the City Attorney. Currently, these code sections create criminal and civil penalties for violations of the state Erosion and Sediment Control Act Storm water Management Law, respectively. Virginia Code Section 62.1-44.15:63(G) reads: “Upon request of the VESCP authority, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall take legal action to enforce the provisions of this article. Upon request of the [State Water Control] Board, the Department, or the district, the Attorney General shall take appropriate legal action on behalf of the Board, the Department, or the district to enforce the provisions of this article.” This distinction has resulted in City Code 26-62(g) requiring that the Commonwealth’s attorney prosecute criminal penalties under this section, while the City Attorney prosecutes civil penalties. The City Attorney’s office is more knowledgeable with regard to this code and the corresponding state and federal environmental laws affecting stormwater management and erosion and sediment control. The Commonwealth’s Attorney has reviewed this matter and concurs with the position that the City Attorney would be the most appropriate office to handle such matters. Thus, a provision clarifying the responsibility for prosecuting violations of the state code and corresponding local ordinances should be added to these state laws.
The City appreciates the support for an increase in the Commonwealth’s reimbursement amount for the City of Chesapeake’s eligible jail construction cost. The approved amount went from $5,130,673 (which has been in the Treasury budget for the last two years) to $6,860,886, which equates to an increase of $1,730,213.
Construction began September 2016 for the jail expansion project. On May 20, 2015, the Board of Correction’s gave its unanimous approval for state jail funding for construction reimbursement for a 192 bed expansion of the Chesapeake City Jail. This approval recognizes a total eligible cost of $27,443,544, of which up to 25% or $6,860,886, plus the Commonwealth’s share of interest on bonds issued to finance the project, would be the state’s reimbursement. In that the Board’s approval for use of the auxiliary units expires March 2018, we recognize that it is imperative that the City continue advancing further means that address jail overcrowding, as well as replace older, more costly to operate facilities. Construction is underway for a 192 bed minimum security dormitory building housing minimum custody, work release and external work force detainee inmates who must be segregated from the main jail population, as they are working out in the community. Construction is scheduled to begin in Spring 2016 with completion in January 2018. In pursuing the project, the jail’s rated capacity will increase from 555 to 747.
In further addressing jail overcrowding, in 2014 the City joined Hampton Roads Regional Jail Authority. Since July 1, 2016, a total of 250 prisoners have been transferred by Sheriff O’Sullivan to the Hampton Roads Regional Jail.
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND VETERANS DOCKET FUNDING
The City requests state funding to implement a Chesapeake General District Court behavioral health and veterans docket. Similar to drug court dockets, which have proven to be a successful model at improving outcomes and reducing costs of incarceration, a behavioral health and veteran’s court docket would further reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for a significant number of returning military service members with post-traumatic stress and other serious mental illnesses. According a recent State Compensation Board study of the prevalence of mentally ill offenders in local and regional jails, the Chesapeake Jail ranks 2nd highest in the region with 31% of inmates having a serious mental illness diagnosis; the Hampton Road Regional jail, of which the City is a member, ranks 1st with 34%.
Revised Nov. 28, 2016