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Agency says they were left out

The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a public hearing on the FY 21/22 county’s $65 million budget on Tuesday, April 27, hearing from several individuals who stressed the need for supervisors to fund and keep services with the Tri-County Community Action Agency (TCCAA).

TCCAA serves low-income families in Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Charlotte counties and has requested just over $18,000; however, supervisors elected to move away from the agency during the budget work session.

According to County Administrator Dan Witt, the BOS now wants to rejoin with STEPS to have needed services provided to its citizens.

STEPS serves South Central Virginia providing community services such as housing, education, workforce, and economic development.

Currently, STEPS operates the Head Start Program in Charlotte County.

Charlotte County was a part of STEPS at one time but left in the early 2000s to join TCCAA.

“The board has decided that they would like to rejoin with STEPS to be with the rest of those counties that are served in the region,” Witt said.

Witt said the county is required to provide certain services to its citizens, and the $18,000 is in the budget and will remain in the budget. It is just a matter of who will receive the funds.

“The county does want to pull away from Tri-County, but the governor will be the one that will make the final decision on that request, “Witt said.

That decision is expected to come around July 1, at which time funds will be dispersed to STEPS if approved by the governor.

President and CEO Petrina Carter of TCCAA addressed the board, telling them her agency was not made aware of possible cuts.

“We were left out of the budget, and a vote was taken for redesignation of the county,” Carter said, “That was made without anyone contacting us prior to there being a vote.”

Carter further said her agency is always made aware of any issues that may arise in a county, but none have been presented to her concerning Charlotte County.

“We did not hear anything from our board representative, any Board of Supervisors member or the county administrator,” Carter said. “We are seeking transparency on the budget and would like to have had a negotiation if we were going to be cut.”

During the public hearing, TCCAA board member and Charlotte County citizen William McCargo told BOS members how the agency provides daycare, home preparation, and housing opportunities.

“The list goes on and on,” McCargo said. “I wanted to be a part of something to do something to help out the community, and we in Charlotte County stick by each other, and I’m here to tell you that Tri-County has done great work to serve the low income.”

Assistant Project Director Leland Davidson with Loc Family Services, also spoke on behalf of TCCAA, telling members how the organization works to help provide housing for those in Charlotte County who are homeless. “Tri-County will help house these individuals,” Davidson said.