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King George residents offer support for the HELP Center, ask for FRED bus service to stay and say they aren't opposed to a tax increase
John Heffernan endorsed the 53-cent proposal and asked the board to stick with essential services.
But resident Jenni Jones supported a 4-cent increase and thanked supervisors and School Board members for their hard work.
King George High School teacher Dee Strauss said she also supported the 4-cent increase, but would have favored a 10-cent increase had the supervisors requested it.
"We can't just stand still with the tax rate," she said. "Our infrastructure needs support."
Supervisors have several more work sessions before they approve the budget April 30.
NO MORE FRED BUSES
Residents presented two petitions with more than 400 names of people who support keeping the FRED bus service in King George.
Yet the decision already had been made. Supervisors planned to end the service this time last year, then agreed to extend it for one more year.
FRED officials knew the county wouldn't continue funding the system, so they didn't apply for grants for the bus service in King George.
For several years, supervisors have said mass transit is an urban solution that doesn't work in a rural setting. They said the cost didn't justify the ridership.
Supervisors hoped to have other options in place before the buses stopped running June 29, but a committee hasn't found any alternatives that would be ready by then, the board learned earlier this month.
"We need the FRED bus service to stay," Morris Tyler told the board. Cutting it "is going to hurt a lot of people."
Charles Frazier, a FRED driver, said a lot of people will lose their jobs without the bus.
Jim Schaefer, the executive director of the Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging, said his staff has vehicles that can provide rides for disabled people who need therapy or dialysis.
"We'll do the best we can," he said, "but we're not a solution to every rider's need."
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425