Mediation Coalition Asks Roanoke General Assembly for Funding
Monday, February, 10, 2014
A coalition of nine mediation centers located in the Roanoke Valley area of Virginia in the USA has asked the Virginia General Assembly for an additional $750,000 in funding in order to keep all the centers open. The mediation centers currently have a budget of $1.7 million, so the new funds would represent a 44% budget increase. However, three mediation centers closed in 2013 due to funding shortages, and the state courts are choked with litigation that could be alleviated if more people were able to avail themselves of affordable, state-subsidized mediation.
Mediation-supporters say the centers are already teetering on the edge of insolvency. The Conflict Resolution Center in Roanoke County is often offered as an example: With an annual budget of $147,000, it has one full-time employee, two part-time employees, and twenty volunteers.
The Mediation Coalition also argues that not only is mediation a necessary service to offer to ease the crowded court calendar, and that allowing further resolution centers to close would only result in higher volumes in the courts as people would have no reasonable alternative to litigation.
However, there is no guarantee that the extra money is even available, and State lawmakers have issued no official response to the request.