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BOS to keep TCCAA

Three months ago, the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) elected to move away from one community services agency to another, but now that may not be possible.

In April, County Administrator Dan Witt said the BOS wanted to move away from Tri-County Community Action Agency (TCCAA) and rejoin with STEPS to have needed services provided to its citizens.

TCCAA serves low-income families in Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Charlotte counties and has requested just over $18,000 in funding for its services.

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.

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.

During the April 27 meeting of the BOS, 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, and 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.”

According to Witt, he met with Carter in June to discuss concerns over services provided to the county.

“Discussed was the need for better communication, availability for services, and more of an accessible presence in Charlotte County,” Witt said.

Witt said after receiving a letter from TCCAA stating they were not willing to sever ties with the county, he contacted the Department of Social Services and the State Department and learned that without a mutual separation, it would be challenging for the county to make the separation.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was suggested for a year outlining the county’s expectations and the services that need to be provided within the county.

In addition, Witt also requested Carter provide written monthly reports showing who was served and what work was done within the county.

During the Monday, July 12, meeting of the BOS, Carter addressed the board.

“In coming up with the MOA, we are here, so we are clear on want you all want, and you are clear on what we can provide.” Carter said. “Often in doing what we do, the rate of success is not always fast and easy. Often times families have many different issues going on.”

Carter further told the board TCCAA was committed to the county and was aware of the needs in the community.

“We know one thing is that when people have a place to live, it helps cure some of the other issues they may be facing,” Carter said. “If you’re working with humans and you think you can lay out one plan and it will work for everyone, you are wrong.”

Supervisor Kay Pierantoni inquired why the TCCAA office building was still closed to clients sighting concerns for underserved citizens.

“I do have a problem with that,” Pierantoni said.

Carter told Pierantoni the building would be open this week for clients. She said no person went unserved during the COVID-19 closure as they could call the office or access needed services online.

“Poor and underserved people often don’t have a computer, so not being open to the public is very concerning,” Pierantoni said. “They need the door open.”