Halifax County saved $189,925 in incarceration costs through December 2018 thanks to implementation of drug court, Freda Holliday, Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services (HCPS) director, reported to the board of supervisors during their November meeting on Monday night.

In addition to saving money last year, the program has seen 16 participants overall, with two graduates since January.

Of those two graduates, one has been employed for more than two years at a dry cleaning establishment, while the other has moved out of the area.

Holliday told supervisors eight participants remain active, four participants have been terminated, and one participant is inactive, while one is pending placement in drug court.

“During its short time in operation, our program saw individuals maintain jobs when they had not been able to do it in the past, find more adequate housing helping to take them out of the lodging situations that only make their addictions worse and learn the tools to become better equipped for the job market which helps them improve their lives and those of their families,” said Holliday in her report. “Those are the types of improvements that do not show up as easily on a piece of paper.”

Issues still remain, according to Holliday, including finding employers to hire people in the drug court program, finding adequate housing and finding pro-social activities and transportation.

Holliday also reported on the success of a litter control program that Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services started with the county in April of 2017, with a total of 88 offenders working a total of 2,547.5 hours through the end of October.

Probationers have collected almost 2,308 bags of trash, with an overall savings to the county of $18,469.38.

“In addition, HPCS has probationers who were assigned building projects due to various reasons (such as the type of charge, work schedule, physical limitations), and many of these were donated to Halifax County,” Holliday said in her report.

Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services, which includes Pittsylvania and Halifax counties and the city of Danville, has a total of 435 probationers placed on supervision, and a total of 354 pretrial defendants on supervision as of the end of June, according to Holliday.

Halifax County has been fiscal agent for Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services since 1995, and the grant-funded program has a budget of $525,753 for fiscal year 2020, explained Holliday.

Halifax-Pittsylvania Court Services includes local probation supervision and pretrial services, with probation services including substance abuse testing, substance abuse screening and assessment, drug and alcohol education and treatment, community service projects and anger management.

Pretrial services provide screening, investigating, reporting, recommendations and supervision for the release of defendants into the custody of the pretrial program.

Defendants placed on pretrial supervision must be adults or are being tried as an adult. In addition to the courts placing defendants on pretrial supervision, magistrates can directly place defendants on pretrial supervision, according to Holliday.

Vice-chairman Hubert Pannell told Holliday he has noticed the decrease in litter alongside county roads.

“I applaud you for getting people on the roads to collect litter,” said Pannell.

Dominion

transmission line

County administrator Scott Simpson updated supervisors on Dominion Energy’s plans to replace a 115-kilovolt transmission line between its Buggs Island substation and Plywood substation after more than 50 years of operation.

Dominion plans to rebuild the 25.8-mile long line using brown, weathering steel poles and H-frame structures on the existing right-of-way.

After necessary permits and approvals are received, construction is expected to start in spring 2020 and continue through the end of 2021, according to a Dominion spokesperson.

After construction is completed, and the line is energized, right-of-way and restoration will last into 2022.

Simpson told supervisors no action was needed on Monday.

Supervisors

approve veteran

tax relief

A Halifax County veteran will receive a total of $2,769.50 in tax relief after a unanimous vote by supervisors on Monday.

The code of Virginia allows for veteran tax relief for individuals meeting certain requirements, but it limits the amount of a refund commissioner of revenue Brenda Powell may provide to $2,500 without board of supervisors’ approval.

Powell had requested the board approve relief and a refund in the amount of $2,769.50 for one particular veteran.

“As a veteran, I’m delighted to make this motion,” said Pannell.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.