Town Budget Entirely Uninspired

The Culpeper Town Council held a public
hearing on its proposed FY2001 budget at its
regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. Unlike
the recent county budget proceedings, there was
no large crowd and no mention of the word
taxes. The town is not proposing a tax increase
for its $19,952,265 budget.

However, two speakers addressed the council
because funding for service agencies they support
had been cut from the town’s budget, they said,
without warning or explanation.
Sam Walker, a lawyer who lives in
Grandview, spoke in support of continued
funding for Rappahan-nock Legal Services and
the Culpeper Literacy Council. Walker serves on
the board of the former and as president of the
latter. He said RLS received $4,500 last year.
“We asked for a 10 percent increase. Instead
it was eliminated entirely without any warning.
This has a significant impact on the RLS budget.
I think it’s 12 years that the town has supported
us. I ask that you please reinstate it at level
funding with last year.”
Walker said that the elimination of funding
for the Literacy Council also came as a “big
surprise.” Its $5,000 budget last year was cut to
$1,000 by the Committee of the Whole in
reviewing the proposed budget last month.
“I certainly was not aware,” Walker said,
“that any citizen complained about the small
amount of money being given to these and other
service-oriented organizations.”
The second and last speaker on the budget
was Jamie Aliperti, managing attorney for
Rappahan-nock Legal Services. He presented
council with a two-page summary of RLS
activities in 1999.
This summary discussed visits to SAFE by an
attorney, “both to take intakes and counsel
individual clients, and to give talks to shelter
residents on various family law and related
topics. . . .” Also mentioned were seminars
provided for financial counselors, talks to
seniors on legal matters, counseling on consumer
law issues, and informational brochures provided
to clients.
“RLS provides free legal services,” the
document explained, “in civil cases to the
low-income residents of 17 jurisdictions. . . .
According to the 1990 census, 38,964 residents
of these jurisdictions financially qualify for our
services , including 3,305 in Culpeper.” In 1999
RLS served 742 Culpeper County residents, 312
of them from the town.
“The typical client was a single mother with
two to three small children, holding down two
and sometimes three part-time minimum-wage
jobs with no health insurance, spending more
than 50 percent of her disposable income just on
shelter costs.