Funding issues for VRS, judge

We depend on that feedback, Northam said.

A much larger concern addressed by community members to the state representatives was McDonnells recent reform plan to the Virginia Retirement System, which could potentially require state employees to contribute 5 percent of their earnings to retirement.

The old business saying that youve got to spend money to make money holds true in the public sector as well, Lewis said.

According to Lewis, a retired Virginia Beach Circuit Court judge will preside on the Shore for the month of January.

The general consensus between community members and the representatives concerning the state budget was that theres a significant need for bringing in more revenue.

Northam explained that placing more toll charges would only stifle the economy of Hampton Roads because they would likely bring in more privatization from businesses outside of the state and country.

A few suggestions for increasing state revenue were proposed by community members Wednesday evening.

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The $1.7 million was supposedly intended for those judges slated for retirement who need to keep getting paid, Lewis said. I think there was a spin on what was said.

We need more than tolls, Northam said.

Several expressed their strong dissent for this plan and explained to the state representatives that over the years pay raises have been steadily decreasing as a result of increased budget cuts by employers.

One community member mentioned implementing additional charges at existing bridges and crossings throughout Hampton Roads.

Lewis says that funding for the Circuit Court judge position will continue to be a top priority in the upcoming weeks and months.

The delegate empathized with community members and stated that the 2 percent net loss that will result after paying for retirement benefits was still not a good situation.

The town hall meetings were held nearly a week in advance to the Jan. 12 commencement of the 2011 General Assembly session, where representatives throughout the commonwealth will attempt to tackle challenging issues ranging from retirement benefits, transportation and health care reform.

MELFA —- State Senator Ralph Northam and Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. listened intently Wednesday as Shore residents voiced their opinions on a number of issues that will be discussed during the upcoming General Assembly session.

One of the more local concerns he and Lewis heard during the meeting was the future funding of the vacant resident circuit court judge position.

In addition to discussing the issues of judicial vacancies and retirement reforms, state representatives will be adjusting the state budget during next weeks session — the most important item on the General Assembly agenda, Lewis said.

According to Northam, the state budget is short $200-250 million this fiscal year. During the six weeks of General Assembly, state representatives will be proposing and reviewing bills that outline plans for additional revenue streams.

Lewis, who represents the 100th district in the House of Delegates, mentioned the recent spin on Gov. Bob McDonnells $1.7 million budget amendment for high priority judicial vacancies — an amendment Lewis believed to be for the Circuit Court judge position.

Another community member proposed privatizing rest stop areas throughout the commonwealth and using the revenue from businesses to help pay for transportation needs.eastern cape department health vacancies

Northam said he also felt privatizing rest stop areas was a good idea, but in the General Assembly the argument that businesses along roadside exits would suffer financially was introduced.

Northam ended the meeting by inviting those in attendance to visit, call or e-mail his Richmond office during the General Assembly session to share any additional concerns and ideas.

Close to 30 community members gathered inside an Eastern Shore Community College auditorium at 7 p.m. to attend the state representatives town hall meeting. It was the third and final series of town hall meetings scheduled by Northam and Lewis — the first held Tuesday afternoon in Chincoteague and the second held earlier Wednesday in Cape Charles.

Lewis said the state is proposing a 3 percent pay raise during the same period the plan is enacted, as well as a 2 percent, one-time bonus next year.

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Northam, who represents the states 6th senate district, began Wednesdays meeting by stressing how vital it was to know the concerns of Shore constituFunding issues for VRS, judgeents.

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