POMEROY — State Representative Debbie Phillips held a roundtable discussion on Friday morning to speak with community members and office holders about issues which impact those in the district.
The meeting held at the Pomeroy Library is one of four hosted by Phillips throughout the 92nd District over the past two weeks.
The meetings provide a chance for those in the district to speak directly with Phillips about their issues and concerns, and to provide an update on legislative matters at the Statehouse.
Phillips spoke about the legislation concerning public pensions which was recently passed. There were five bills, one focusing on each of the five pension plans handled by the state.
The legislation, according to Phillips, will help stabilize the public pension plans for the future. She went on to state that the changes were needed to protect the current system which allows for a health care benefit in addition to the pension payout.
Changes to the system included a plan to prevent spiking in later years, and some changes to the health care portion for both current and future retirees. Many of the changes were grandfathered in and would have minimal effect on those already retired.
Phillips spoke in opposition of any attempt to privatize the pension plans in the future.
The stimulus plan was also a topic of discussion, with some in attendance and Phillips noting the impact it has had on the local area and the region.
According to Phillips, stimulus funding helped to move up the anticipated completion date on the Nelsonville Bypass, and also funded several of the water and sewer projects which have taken place in the county.
A final topic of discussion was the budget and potential changes to it.
Andrea Osborne Weakley of the Meigs County Family and Children First Council (FCFC) spoke about the impact that cutting just $15,000 of state funding could have on the entire county. Currently $15,000 of funding comes from state funds for the program.
Last year, 59 families were provided services through the FCFC, which Weakley said saved the county and state approximately $143,836 had services been required through seperate agencies.
Phillips also spoke highly of the No Wrong Door program which is in place in Meigs County and allows any agency to know where to refer people to receive the needed services.
Phillips stated that key items in the budget are education, workforce development and core needs such as services provided by local government. Phillips also noted that investing in infrastructure and education can help to draw people and businesses to an area.
Additional meetings were held in Washington and Morgan counties on Oct. 8 and Athens County on Oct. 19.
Attending the meeting in Pomeroy were Bob Ord, president of Syracuse Village Council; Middleport resident Kenneth R. King; Family and Children First Coordinator Andrea Osborne Weakley; and candidate for county commissioner Randy Hart.