Councilman Protogyrou’s Budget Requests

Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Councilman Andy Protogyrou

Ward 1 Councilman, Andrew Protogyrou, wrote a memo to City Manager, Marcus Jones, requesting specific funding and budget requests for the upcoming budget.  The original memo was dated April 5, 2012 and an addendum was done on April 6, 2012.  The content is printed below:

Marcus,

You had asked me for any budget issues regarding Ward One in the City of Norfolk. Though I have informally discussed some or all of these items with you in the past, I believe it appropriate to present my requests in writing for your benefit. I have the following requests:

1.  Co-occurring Drug and Mental Health Court: I have discussed with Chief Judge Junius Fulton of the Norfolk Circuit Court issues of the Mental Health Court and Drug Court. The Drug Court is run by Judge Fulton and the Mental Health Court is run by Judge Charles Poston. When an individual  has a mental health problem it is handled in the one court; if the person has a drug problem, it is handled in the other. However, many people are coming before the courts with two problems (especially veterans). An example would be a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who commits a crime. Individuals with PTSD abuse narcotics and/or alcohol as an unauthorized self medication therapy. When an individual has both diagnoses, he does not qualify for either court and falls within “a donut hole.”

Judge Fulton has recommended a combination of the two courts. He would handle twenty-five therapeutic places. Currently, it appears the fifty slots of the drug court and the twenty-five of the mental health court are full but there is a need to fill the hole. In this manner, a separate co-occurring track for veterans and others who may suffer from PTSD, depression, drug and alcohol addictions and have committed crimes are therapeutically placed.

Two positions are needed for this co-occurring track. First would involve a CSB clinician.  The clinician, appears to be a new position (their staffing I am sure will be examined in the near future). Second is a probation officer for felony cases that would result in the twenty-five individuals being supervised in the co-occurring track. It appears that a probation officer costs approximately $75,000 and currently one functions through an MOU between the City and Drug Court.

Space is needed. There is space currently available at $12.50 per sq. ft. on a five year lease of 2,850 sq. ft. This space is owned by the Decker family and next to Probation and Parole. It allows for a group meeting area, a lobby and offices.

Further, the Mental Health Court has asked for $15,000 in funds to afford it the opportunity to do a five-year evaluation to validate the program as vehicle for Federal grants. This has been authorized under the previous manager and at this point is now due to be able to keep the court receiving funds.

2.   Mason Creek: Specifically with regard to Ward One, there has been discussion of dredging Mason Creek. I know this has come up in the past but I believe dredging could fall within flood abatement issues and may be brought to the Government’s attention when it comes to bidding of the pumping station to rectify Mason Creek flooding. I believed past budgets have included dredging as a line item.

3.  4th View Interchange: This interchange at W. Ocean View Avenue continues to be a problem for the residents. I would like a review of how the interchange has become such a problem in its present state and what solutions to the current condition exist.

4.  Underground utility work at Wards Corner: Considering the future development and improvement in the area, please budget underground utility work at the Little Creek/Granby intersection.

5.  Denby Park Acquisition: Please continue apartment purchases in this area. Though not Ward 1, the eradication of blight effects the entire city. It was only after our collective political will and your acceptance, that acquisition is the solution to the problem, the initial purchases occurred. It was not happenstance that development in Wards Corner followed because of our purchases. It actually spurred it.

Lastly, not involving issues of budget, I would again ask that I receive a report on the Glennwood Park Civic League building on Woodview Avenue and whether the architect has had an opportunity to meet with the families in that area.
Again, I would like a courthouse meeting to discuss the current situation and setup of the bar library, bar association offices and restaurant that is on the first floor.

ADDENDA TO BUDGET REQUESTS OF APRIL 5, 2012

1.  Police/Fire Memorial:  The city must allocate funds for a joint police/fire memorial to be placed on the civic plaza near City Hall and the new courthouse. A new memorial should incorporate the current bell. I have met with the Public Arts Commission and Ann O’Dell of your office and it is believed that such a memorial should come from private donations and the city. Those funds should be considered separate from the Public Arts Commission; however, we can seek their assistance in bringing a work of art to fruition.

2.  Workforce Development Center Property: Please place the acquisition of this property in the appropriate CIP budget. Price may be derived from the lease that is set to expire in 2015.

3.  No-kill Policy: The city must budget for a 90% or better save rate for animals at the Norfolk Animal Care Center. To meet this budgetary requirement ordinances involving TNR Program (Trap, Neuter, Return) must be implemented. In 2010 Norfolk ACC had a save rate of dogs and cats of 54.46%. This was 20% less than the city of Portsmouth and 40% less than the city of Charlottesville’s SPCA. Portsmouth currently has a no-kill policy. The city must adjust its budget to meet same. Anything less is unacceptable.

The original PDF documents:

COUNCIL.REQUEST.4.5.12

COUNCIL.REQUEST.4.6.12

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