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May 27, 2011

Dumler announces campaign for Albemarle Board of Supervisors

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, May 27, 2011

Scottsville attorney Christopher J. Dumler has entered the race to succeed Lindsay G. Dorrier Jr. on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Dumler, 26, will seek the nomination of the Democratic Party when it holds a caucus later this summer. Dorrier announced in March that he would not be running again. Scottsville Republican James C. Norwood has also filed as an official candidate for the open seat.

Dumler_Christopher2x600
Christopher J. Dumler
Photo provided by candidate

“I am running because I think that we really need a concrete comprehensive vision for the community that extends more than three to five years in the future,” Dumler said.

According to Dumler, that vision needs to include economic development, education and rural and agricultural preservation as priorities.

“Job creation is my No. 1 priority,” Dumler said.

“Albemarle and Scottsville deserve a government that is accountable,” Dumler said. “A vision should be born out of a public process, but be implemented fully such that it doesn’t have so much wiggle room that it changes at the whim of vocal minorities.”

Dumler moved to Virginia from Georgia after receiving an undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2009 and opened his law practice in Scottsville in 2010. He is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps.

Dorrier, also a Virginia law graduate and former JAG officer, will leave office at the end of 2011, having served 18 years as the Scottsville district supervisor.

“I am running to follow in the footsteps of Lindsay Dorrier,” Dumler said. “I don’t think anyone could replace Lindsay and I truly respect everything he has given to Albemarle County. He is the epitome of a public servant.”

“If there is a legacy I would follow, it would be his responsiveness and recognition that local politics really is local,” Dumler added.

Dumler has been involved in the community as a member of the Region Ten Community Services board of directors and an appointee to Albemarle’s Natural Heritage Committee. He also serves on the Scottsville Board of Zoning Appeals.

“Albemarle deserves a government that is collaborative,” Dumler said. “We have a very poisonous relationship with city of Charlottesville today, for a variety of reasons, including the water plan, the Meadow Creek Parkway and revenue sharing.”

“Through my board service, I have developed a number of relationships with people in the city that I think can lead to breakthroughs on those issues,” Dumler said.

The Albemarle supervisors have unanimously backed the almost $140 million 50-year community water plan since it was approved in 2006. Dumler said he supports the construction of a new earthen dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir.

“I do support the water plan that has been approved,” Dumler said. “It is not the perfect plan, but it was born out of a public process and it is a sustainable plan. It is also a plan that takes advantage of a great bidding market right now.”

Dumler said his campaign will allow him to better understand the needs of the Scottsville district.

“I want to find out what the local neighborhood problems are and develop neighborhood solutions,” Dumler said. “That’s what Lindsay did so well.”

Three of the six supervisor seats will be on the November general election ballot. Two current supervisors — Ann H. Mallek, D-White Hall, and Kenneth C. Boyd, R-Rivanna — have announced they are seeking re-election.

Norwood is the only other candidate who has filed paperwork to become an official candidate for supervisor. Norwood postponed an election campaign announcement earlier this week and was unavailable Friday to comment on the race.

May 13, 2011

Boyd announces he will seek a third term on Albemarle Board of Supervisors

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, May 13, 2011

Republican Kenneth C. Boyd announced Thursday that he will seek a third term on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. Boyd has represented the Rivanna District since 2004 and served as chairman during 2007-2008.

Boyd, 63, moved to Albemarle County in 1982 to work for Jefferson National Bank. Since 1991 he has run his own financial planning business.

20110512-Boyd1 “I really only decided … just this week, that I will seek another term as the Rivanna representative on the Board of Supervisors,” Boyd said at a press conference held inside the county office building.



Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20110512-Boyd

Boyd began his remarks by acknowledging that in 2009 he said he would not run for re-election, as he wanted to concentrate on a run for the Republican party’s nomination in the race for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Boyd was unsuccessful and Robert Hurt ultimately received the party’s nomination and defeated Democrat Tom Perriello in the November election.

“I said at that time that I would not be seeking another term,” Boyd said. “But this year I have been both honored and humbled by the number of people who have come out asked me to run again… .”

Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Boyd served a 4-year term on the Albemarle School Board. Thursday he said education would remain a priority.

“We’ve accomplished a lot of things over the last 12 years, and it’s something I think we can all be proud of,” Boyd said. “The first is we certainly continue to build on a world class education system.”

Boyd also highlighted recognition that the county has received for its law enforcement, energy-efficient buildings, rural land conservation, the creation of new parks and for maintaining a AAA bond rating.

“We are continuing to be good stewards of the environment and we always will be as long as I am on the Board of Supervisors,” Boyd said.

Boyd said if he had to select one issue as his top priority for his next term, it would be implementation of the community water supply plan and construction of a new earthen dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir.

“We must make sure that our community has an abundant and clean drinking water supply, and to do this we have to complete the Ragged Mountain agreement,” Boyd said.

Boyd said the county must also address sewer infrastructure problems that have been “ignored for decades,” and it must complete the Meadow Creek Parkway. Boyd also called for talks on the 1982 revenue sharing agreement with the city of Charlottesville to find a “more fair and equitable distribution of those funds,” which the county pays annually into city coffers.

When fellow Republicans Duane E. Snow and Rodney Thomas were elected to the board in 2009, Boyd was able to lead a conservative bloc promoting an agenda that featured no increases to the real estate property tax rate, as well as development of an economic vitality plan which seeks to increase local revenues through greater economic development.

“We had to hold the line on taxes,” Boyd said. “I am proud to say that we were able to downsize our government considerably without impacting services that much.”

Rivanna residents Allan and Cynthia Collier came to Boyd’s announcement to support his re-election campaign.

“He has saved me a lot of money on my property taxes, and I do appreciate that,” Allan Collier said.

Cynthia Collier said she was concerned about the county’s involvement in the Livable Communities Planning Project, a three-year joint planning project managed by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission involving the county, the city of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.

“I think too many people are making plans for too many other people without their permission,” said Collier. “I hope [Boyd] will manage to get us out of that deal with ICLEI and Agenda 21, which was started by the United Nations.”

Boyd has asked at two recent board meetings that Albemarle drop its membership in ICLEI — Local Governments for Sustainability. In response to Boyd’s concerns and those of Jefferson Area Tea Party members, the county has scheduled a work session for June 8 to review ICLEI and the Livable Communities Planning Project.

Boyd said he was “blindsided” by the county’s recent involvement in the TJPDC project, which is supported by an almost $1 million federal grant, and he looked forward to learning more about it at the upcoming work session.

“I still don’t understand clearly what they want to do with that money,” said Boyd. “We have spent an awful lot of time, effort and expense on master planning in the county, and I don’t want to drag our community through that process again.”

Watch the video [story continues below]:

Ken Boyd announces re-election campaign for Albemarle Board of Supervisors
from Charlottesville Tomorrow on Vimeo.

The chair of the Albemarle Republican Committee, Rachel Schoenewald, said the party would officially nominate candidates for local races sometime during July and August. She said the November elections for three seats on the six-member Board of Supervisors were “extremely important.”

“There are a lot of extremely important issues facing the board right now,” said Schoenewald. “It will determine a lot how the county develops moving forward, both economically and socially, so I think it’s really something people should be focused on.”

No other candidates have announced that they are seeking to challenge Boyd. Supervisor Ann H. Mallek, D-White Hall, has announced she is seeking re-election. The Scottsville District will have an open seat race as Democrat Supervisor Lindsay G. Dorrier Jr. announced in March he would not run again. No candidates have yet announced that they are running for the Scottsville seat.

20110512-Boyd2

April 26, 2010

Elected officials in Charlottesville-Albemarle meet to discuss collaboration and cooperation

On Saturday, April 24, 2010, Delegate David Toscano convened the first ever joint meeting of the Charlottesville City Council, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, and the elected city and county school boards.  Toscano, who represents all of Charlottesville and portions of Albemarle in the 57th district in the Virginia General Assembly, called the meeting for city and county leaders to discuss areas for future cooperation.

Listen using player above or download the podcast:Download 20100424-Toscano-Summit

The impetus for the meeting was disagreement between the city and county during the 2010 general assembly session related to a budget amendment that sought to take revenue sharing into account for education funding.  Had the budget amendment requested by Delegate Rob Bell passed, Albemarle would have gained about $2.8 million in education funding.  Charlottesville’s education funding was to be lowered by the same amount. The budget amendment would not have altered the 1982 revenue sharing agreement.

The meeting was held in the Paul Goodloe McIntire Room of the McIntire Library on Market Street in Charlottesville.  See coverage by The Daily Progress.

Participants:

  • Delegate David Toscano (D-57th)
  • Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25th)
  • Albemarle County Board of Supervisors
    Ann Mallek, Chair; Ken Boyd; Lindsay Dorrier; Dennis Rooker; Duane Snow; Rodney Thomas
  • Charlottesville City Council
    Dave Norris, Mayor; David Brown; Holly Edwards; Satyendra Huja; Kristin Szakos
  • Albemarle County School Board
    Ron Price, Chair; Steve Koleszar; Diantha McKeel; Pamela Moynihan; Eric Strucko; Brian Wheeler. (Absent: Barbara Mouly)
  • Charlottesville City School Board
    Ned Michie, Acting Chair; Colette Blount; Llezelle Dugger; Juandiego Wade. (Absent: Leah Puryear, Chair; Alvin Edwards; Kathy Galvin)
  • Dr. Rosa Atkins, Superintendent, Charlottesville City Public Schools
  • Dr. Pam Moran, Superintendent, Albemarle County Public Schools

NOTE: Brian Wheeler, Executive Director of Charlottesville Tomorrow, is also a member of the Albemarle County School Board and a participant in this meeting.  As a result, there will not be any in-depth analysis of the meeting and the audio is being provided here as a public service and to document the discussion related to city-county cooperation and the areas the Charlottesville Tomorrow covers in its reporting.  The speakers are shown in the timeline for identification purposes only.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

Coming soon...

January 05, 2010

Top-10 Growth & Development Stories of 2009

In my weekly appearance today on WINA AM 1070 on the Charlottesville Right Now program, host Coy Barefoot and I will count down Charlottesville Tomorrow's top-10 growth and development stories of 2009.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download Brian Wheeler's appearance on the Coy Barefoot show

This is the fourth year we have counted down the top-10 growth and development stories in Charlottesville-Albemarle.  This wouldn’t be possible without the support of WINA for the Charlottesville Right Now program, host Coy Barefoot for having me on the show each week, Charlottesville Tomorrow’s donors, and the excellent reporting by my colleague Sean Tubbs and our interns.

Charlottesville Tomorrow's Top-10 Growth & Development Stories of 2009
  1. Biscuit Run goes from Albemarle’s largest proposed development ever to a future state park after all 1,200 acres are acquired by the Commonwealth of Virginia in December.
  2. Meadowcreek Parkway construction begins in Albemarle.  Local lawsuit fails to stop construction and City Council’s 3-2 vote to convey City property is upheld in court.  In December, VDOT puts City’s portion (called McIntire Road Extended) out to bid and City Council approves preliminary interchange design.
  3. City & County both hold local elections.  Democrats keep all five seats on Charlottesville City Council.  Three independent candidates in the City are unsuccessful in their bids for Council with Bob Fenwick’s campaign largely a referendum on the future of McIntire Park and dredging for water supply needs.  In Albemarle, Republican Rodney Thomas upset incumbent Chairman Democrat David Slutzky (D-Rio).  In the open seat race to fill the Samuel Miller District seat, Republican Duane Snow defeats two opponents.  Thomas and Snow join Republican Ken Boyd to form a group of three Republicans.  Both newcomers are local businessmen born and raised in Charlottesville-Albemarle. The election results will bring a new mix of experience, politics and philosophy to the board in 2010 that could mean big changes in the board's approach to budgeting, tax rates, economic development and other key issues.
  4. Fifty-year Community Water Supply Plan continues to be evaluated by local officials and public for opportunities to improve plan and lower costs.  Engineering firm Gannett Fleming is dropped and replaced with local firm Schnabel Engineering.  Three studies get underway related to dredging of South Fork, the design of the new Ragged Mountain Dam, and a “conceptual review” of the proposed pipeline connecting the two reservoirs.
  5. Places29 Master Plan is recommended for approval by Albemarle County Planning Commission on 4-2 vote.  Many business leaders continue to oppose grade-separated interchanges and other transportation proposals that cannot currently be funded by state.  Wendell Wood lobbies for growth area expansion on to undeveloped land he owns in Northern Albemarle.
  6. Peter van der Linde opens recycling facility at Zion Crossroads.  Rivanna Solid Waste Authority (run jointly by Charlottesville-Albemarle) files lawsuit against van der Linde accusing him of fraud and non-payment of as much as $1 million in tipping fees to the RSWA facility.  RSWA decides to seek bids to privatize the Ivy Material Utilization Center and McIntire recycling facilities.
  7. Charlottesville Downtown Mall renovations completed under budget and mostly on schedule (fountains needed more work after deadline).
  8. Major new housing and retail developments continue to be held up by market forces, economic downturn, and lack of adequate public infrastructure (e.g. sewer capacity).
  9. Virginia General Assembly blocks local sales tax voter referendum, requested by both Charlottesville & Albemarle as part of search for new transportation funding resources, specifically to support formation of a Regional Transit Authority.
  10. First annual CvillePieFest is held in Crozet.  Organized on Twitter, it was simply amazing.
    (Full disclosure: Coy Barefoot & Brian Wheeler really want to continue as permanent judges for this event, something that should become the Virginia Pie Festival! Keep track of all things local pie here.)
Brian’s predictions for the top stories of 2010
  1. Key decisions will be made about next steps for the fifty-year Community Water Supply Plan related to Ragged Mountain dam design and dredging.
  2. Crozet Master Plan review is completed.  What is new target for Crozet’s build out population and will the growth area be expanded at Yancey Mills for a new business park?
  3. New growth area land in U.S. Route 29 corridor will be considered to replace the 3.5% of growth area lost to state’s acquisition in late 2009 of Biscuit Run for a new state park.
  4. Village of Rivanna and Places29 Master Plans will be reviewed by Board of Supervisors.  Will Places29 be approved and, if so, with what transportation vision for the future of U.S. 29 North?
  5. Local government continues to struggle with the continuing impact of state and local budget shortfalls in very difficult economy.  Officials will consider new proposals to diversify Albemarle’s tax base (increased commercial/industrial) and proposals to reduce recently adjusted cash proffer expectations in an effort to encourage new home construction.
  6. City-County-UVA cooperation will get more attention by the public and local officials (revenue sharing, water, solid waste, schools, public safety).  Will it get better or worse?
  7. Master Planning of McIntire Park will get underway and future uses, like a botanical garden, will be assessed. 
  8. The military facilities at Rivanna Station around the National Ground Intelligence Center will continue their expansion and bring new residents to the community working for the Defense Intelligence Agency and military sub-contractors.
  9. Charlottesville and Albemarle both face challenges from their residents concerned about urban infill development, the type of growth encouraged by each locality’s comprehensive plans, but often opposed in the face of neighborhood concerns about increased traffic, public safety, and noise.  How will this impact redevelopment of West Main and old Martha Jefferson Hospital?
  10. Landmark Hotel construction on Downtown Mall resumes, or not…

October 19, 2009

Supervisors provide direction on balancing five-year financial plan

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, October 19, 2009

20091016-BOS-Dots2
Supervisors were asked to indicate which options they supported to help close the $5.8 million shortfall projected over the course of the 5-year plan
The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors have set the stage for some potentially sharp reductions in County spending. At their strategic planning retreat on Friday, the Board indicated its willingness to study cutting funding from several programs and also agreed to consider a 77.2 cent tax rate over the next five years. No decisions were reached at the retreat but staff now has direction on how to begin building next year’s budget.

At last year’s retreat, the Board started the budget process with plans for no salary increases, 55 frozen positions, and expectations there would be $100 million less in the Capital Improvement Budget.

As part of this year’s retreat, County staff presented the Board with a revised five-year financial plan based on the existing real estate property tax rate of 74.2 cents. Property assessments are expected to be 3.75% lower in FY 2011, with a rebound not projected until FY 2013. Sales tax revenues are expected to be 2% lower next year, with a increases projected to begin in FY2012. 

“We are facing a significant imbalance between revenues and expenditures,” said Deputy County Executive Tom Foley. The County has a $5.8 million shortfall over the course of the five-year plan.

That plan assumes the number of frozen positions will be expanded from 55 to 65. No salary increases are projected for next year’s budget either, but they are projected for the following four years. No money will be spent on professional development, and no money has been restored to previous program cuts.

A group of department heads and County Executive Bob Tucker formed something called the Leadership Council to make recommendations on how to bring the plan into balance. Some of their recommendations included:

  • Establish an equalized tax rate for both commercial and residential property tax rate for the first two years of the plan. This tax rate is assumed for the purposes of the five-year plan at 77.2 cents.
  • Maintain that tax rate for the remaining years of the plan.
  • Eliminate general fund spending for ACE program, cutting program to the $350,000 allocated externally by the Virginia Department of Tourism. The proceeds would go 100% to local government and are not subject to the 60/40% split with the school system.
  • Discontinue participation in VDOT’s revenue-sharing program and re-route 100% of these funds to local government, saving $1.5 million annually.
  • Eliminate spending for recycling centers during the next five years while future of program is studied.
  • Reduce funding to the Affordable Housing Trust by $190,000 a year.
  • Establish a one-time revenue shortfall contingency fund of $1.5 million.
  • Extend number of frozen positions beyond 65 called for in the existing plan.
  • Reevaluate all projects in the Capital Improvement Program.
  • Eliminate salary increases.
If these steps were taken, County staff still project a shortfall for the five-year plan, but with only a $600,000 deficit for FY 2015.

Other assumptions include:
  • Any money the County obtains through the land use revalidation process will be used to contribute to the County’s general fund as “fund balance.”
During their brainstorming session, Supervisors came up with these ideas, each of which was supported by at least two Board members:

  • Investigate whether school system can contribute to the reduction in the CIP
  • Work with the business community to promote the economy
  • Delaying construction of the Ivy and Pantops fire stations
  • Consider merging services and departments with the City of Charlottesville
  • Review development review task force recommendations to see if any cost savings can be found
20091016-BOS-Chart
 A green dot indicates a Supervisor's willingness to consider one of the options suggested by the Leadership Council
At the end of the retreat, County Community Relations Manager Lee Catlin emphasized that the Board did not endorse a tax rate, but instead authorized the study of various tools to address the County’s budgetary woes. 

“Nobody’s tax burden actually increases because reassessments are still declining during that time period,” Catlin said. “It does mean that in the last three years of the plan, if reassessments come above zero, people will see a minimal tax increase in their bill. What the Board said in their discussion was that was a possibility for balancing the five-year plan.”

Catlin acknowledged that many of the options on the table would involve painful decisions.

“There’s not any of them that either the staff or the Board felt good about embracing, but there was definitely a realization that we are at that place of tough choices,” she said.

County staff will now use the direction from the Board to prepare a more detailed analysis of how these spending cuts would affect next year’s budget. They will be presented with that analysis at a work session in November.

October 16, 2009

Senior Statesmen of Virginia hold forum for all six Albemarle Supervisor candidates

By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, October 16, 2009

All six candidates for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors participated in a forum sponsored by the non-partisan Senior Statesmen of Virginia on October 15, 2009. Samuel Miller District candidates Madison Cummings (D), John Lowry (I) and Duane Snow (R) sat alongside Rio District candidates David Slutzky (D) and Rodney Thomas (R). Jack Jouett District incumbent Dennis Rooker (I) was also on the panel even though he faces no opposition.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20091014-SSV-Forum

After each candidate gave a five-minute opening statement, they answered questions from the audience about land use taxation, the role of chain stores in Albemarle’s economic plan and cooperation with the City of Charlottesville. Each candidate was also given a chance to make a closing “wrap-up” statement.

20091014-SSV
The opening statements offered a chance for each candidate to explain why he is running. Rooker pointed to many achievements the Board of Supervisors has made during the past eight years, including maintaining a AAA bond rating.  Thomas said his time as Chairman of the Albemarle County Planning Commission prepared him to serve as a Supervisor. Slutzky said he was a hard worker who would put in the time to continue to serve Albemarle County. Snow said he was qualified for the job by his lifelong residency as well as his experience as a business owner. Lowry called for the creation of an economic development department. Cummings pointed to his service on the School Board as a reason why he should be elected.

The following are highlighted responses from the five questions asked by the audience.

Question 1:  What action would you take to enable restaurant chains such as the Olive Garden and Cracker Barrel, as well as big box stores such as the Home Depot, to open in Albemarle County?

Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller): “We make it almost impossible for them to come here because we demand so much from them…”

Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett): “We do not choose which businesses want to come here. We provide adequate land uses for businesses to locate here. We have today about 3 million square feet of commercial space that is approved in the County but has not been built out.”

Rodney Thomas (R-Rio): “The [County’s] maximum footprint is 65,000 square feet… I think that probably should be doctored a little bit to let the bigger stores come in…”

David Slutzky (D-Rio): “The Department of Conservation and Recreation issues some draft regulations that were ruthless in protecting the bay, but they also were going to have a profound chilling effect on the business climate in the Commonwealth in Virginia…I came up with an alternative proposal… They’ll be finalized and signed by the Governor later this year.”

John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller): “Businesses have to want to come here. Is the County perceived as being friendly to business? We need to have an economic development office to invite businesses here.”

Madison Cummings: (D-Samuel Miller): “If we’re not welcoming to businesses… we need to be working on that… I do hear occasionally that there are County employees who are less welcoming and sometimes rude. I would hope that we would work on that.”

Question 2: How would you join with Charlottesville government to help in making both areas save taxpayer dollars?

Rodney Thomas (R-Rio):”I would plan a meeting to do something with the revenue sharing… Right now we have no say over that money that is spent inside of the City of Charlottesville. $18.8 million is what the check is going to be for in January.”

Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett): “City and County cooperate on many, many things… We can always do more.”

David Slutzky (D-Rio): “The City runs the bus system… the bus system is very downtown-centric yet 80% of our commercial activity is along [U.S. 29]. I would like to see us enter into a collaboration with the City to form a Regional Transit Authority.”

Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller): “We have to be careful that in the effort to collaborate, [that] we don’t get carried away with spending…”

John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller): “We have a City operating independently inside the County and logically the two really ought to be together completely so we wouldn’t have an overlap in the school system and police, fire and rescue…”

Madison Cummings (D-Samuel Miller): “I was on the School Board in the late 90’s and I approached the superintendent and [asked] how we could cut this dog.gone transportation budget? I tried to work and see if maybe we could meld at least in the urban area the two transportation systems for the schools… One opportunity maybe we could consider again.”

Question 3: The Daily Progress recently reported that housing prices have dropped by 20%. How should the Board respond to lower real estate assessments?

Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller): “There’s nothing we can do about raising those property values back up until the economy improves. But in the meantime you can’t tell someone that is already struggling to make ends meet that we have to raise taxes… Cut the waste in the County and then from there we can make decisions. Do you realize the County has never had a zero-based budget?”

Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett): “The County actually did try zero-based budgeting back in 1990 and then they went away from it… What we do today is what I would call a modified zero-based budget. We do look at every line item in the budget to determine whether or not it’s something we need to fund… Actual full-fledged zero-based budgeting is an incredibly time-demanding… At the end of the day it was abandoned because it took up a lot of time that could have been spent elsewhere… Before we raise rates, we always need to look for efficiencies and make sure we are getting the most out of the revenues we currently have.”

John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller): “Relying on property taxes alone is unsustainable.. You could have $20 million from commercial taxes over time that could be a replacement…It’s not a crisis of wasteful spending. We have a crisis of not having enough revenues to provide the services we like.”

David Slutzky (D-Rio): “You’ve got to minimize your expenses and you’ve got to increase your revenues… I voted against the turf fields that were going to be put in the schools…I find it frustrating in a campaign process where candidates sit there and say they’re going to cut the waste… if we’re interested in zero-based budgeting, that must mean that these candidates have already looked at the budget and have at least some suggestions of what waste they want to see cut, and I haven’t been hearing that so far.”

Rodney Thomas (R-Rio): “There’s a lot of ways that you can cut. You want to cut the waste out of the budget… I think it’s going to be obvious as to where we need to make the cuts when we get into the budget, and cut the wasteful spending.”

Madison Cummings (D-Samuel Miller): “We perhaps are at zero-based budgeting now whether we want to be or not. We’re at least at baseline budgeting because of the number of folks [in County government] that are frozen.”

Question 4: “What negative results would occur if land use taxation were to be eliminated?”

Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett):”There probably are some properties out there that have been getting a benefit for that tax break that might not qualify, and we want to make certain that the program is only going to those who meet the definition... We decided to go with revalidation to see where that would lead us.”

David Slutzky (D-Rio): “I can’t imagine our board would eliminate the program. I certainly wouldn’t support it… It provides immense value in that it does create an incentive for rural lands to be protected for a period of time…”

Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller): “I don’t think it’s a matter of taxes. It’s a matter of personal property rights… The people that are living in the County that are getting a tax break on their property, most of them don’t use the services that those in the urban ring use.”

Rodney Thomas (R-Rio): “Farmers would not be able to afford to run their farms if the program was done away with… I don’t know of any land use participant that is a land speculator… I can’t imagine anyone in the County doing that.”

Madison Cummings (D-Samuel Miller):”It’s a sacred duty to maintain the rural areas of Albemarle County and other areas. Land use taxation relief helps to do that.”

John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller): “The agriculture industry would completely go away. The timber industry would disappear, too.”

Question 5: What are your views on the bypass around Charlottesville?

Madison Cummings (D-Samuel Miller): “In the 70’s, they were talking about the western bypass. We talked about it and I said, why wouldn’t they talk about going down U.S. 15? What doesn’t make sense about that? That was before Historic Green Springs set itself as a historical area, so that makes it more difficult now… The western bypass, the topography there is not attractive. It’s terribly expensive…I think we need to drive a stake through its heart permanently.”

John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller):”I’d like to speak on the seriousness ofn the ability to fund road improvements in our area. We have a problem of flow right now. We have a state that is not sending money to our community… It’s not a lack of planning that we’re missing. We’re missing a lack of funding… It’s not the bypass that’s so important. We need lanes connecting Hydraulic to the traditional 29 bypass. We need the rural road program to be funded.”

Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller): “They tell us that roughly 10% of the traffic we have in this area goes straight through the 29 area and out of the County. They say that in building a bypass we’re building it mainly for that 10%. What we really need is to make it easier for the 90% that are moving around inside of the city to get around more effectively.”

Rodney Thomas (R-Rio): “I really like the [Western] bypass… I thought it was a very good internal road that we needed… If the bypass had been put in, it would have eliminated a high percentage of the cars blocking or backing up at the 250 bypass interchange…”

Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett): “There is no funding for transportation in the state… Somebody needs to solve the transportation funding problem… Hillsdale needs to be built… We know we need to add a lane on 29 from Hydraulic Road south to the 250 Bypass along with an extra ramp at Best Buy… we don’t have any money for it.”

David Slutzky (D-Rio): “I strongly agree with my opponent Rodney that we cannot let 29 become an expressway, and I think that was one of the original reasons why the community looked at the so-called Western Bypass… If the Board is going to be deliver anything out of Places29, it is that parallel road that is Berkmar that’s been described already.”

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST:

  • 01:00 – Introduction from David Perkins of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia
  • 03:30 – Opening statement from Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett)
  • 09:00 - Opening statement from Rodney Thomas (R-Rio)
  • 10:30 - Opening statement from David Slutzky (D-Rio)
  • 16:00 - Opening statement from Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller)
  • 20:15 - Opening statement from John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller)
  • 25:45 – Opening statement from Madison Cummings (D-Samuel Miller)
  • 31:20 – Question #1
  • 44:00 – Question #2
  • 56:30 - Question #3
  • 1:10:30 - Question #4
  • 1:26:00 - Question #5
  • 1:39:00 - Wrap-up comment from Madison Cummings (D-Samuel Miller):
  • 1:42:00 - Wrap-up comment from John Lowry (I-Samuel Miller)
  • 1:44:40 - Wrap-up comment from Duane Snow (R-Samuel Miller)
  • 1:47:15 - Wrap-up comment from Rodney Thomas (R-Rio)
  • 1:50:00 - Wrap-up comment from Dennis Rooker (I-Jack Jouett)
  • 1:53:30 - Wrap-up comment from David Slutzky (D-Rio)

March 09, 2009

Julian Taliaferro announces campaign for re-election to City Council

20090309-Taliaferro0 Councilor Julian Taliaferro (D) announced on March 9, 2009 that he would run for re-election to the Charlottesville City Council. Taliaferro was elected to his first term in 2006 and he currently serves as the Vice Mayor. With the initiation of this campaign, he becomes the third Democrat to vie for the two open seats on City Council. and Kristin Szakos and Dave Norris have also launched their respective campaigns. The Democratic Party will hold an “unassembled caucus” to select their candidates on a date to be announced, but sometime between May 8th and June 9th.  The general election will be held on November 3, 2009.

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In the announcement address held in front of Charlottesville City Hall, Taliaferro listed four issues he considers central to his campaign, “our public education system, affordable housing, efficient and effective deliver of city services, and the preservation and enhancement of our quality of life.” 

When asked by a reporter about any concrete goals for another term, Taliaferro highlighted two items. "One of the things I certainly want to bring to some sort of resolution is the community water plan and obviously I want to continue to support the public education system in the City," said Taliaferro.

Taliaferro praised the City’s recent efficiency study as well as the City’s fiscally conservative outlook on budgeting, and attributed this approach to allowing the community to weather tough economic times with few service cuts.

“This council has taken a leadership role in implementing green city initiatives that will protect our environment,” said Taliaferro to a gathering of about thirty supporters.  He said he is particularly proud of the enhancement of transit services secured within the last few years .

Watch the video below:

Taliaferro also defended Charlottesville’s revenue-sharing agreement with Albemarle County. “I have been somewhat dismayed at some of the careless remarks of some of the County leadership regarding our long-standing annexation agreement.” He summarized the history of the agreement, and insisted that the County is getting a good deal in return for the City’s lost potential for annexation. He said he would like to stop arguing over revenue sharing and work toward the consolidation of some City and County services.

In response to another question from the media, Taliaferro acknowledged that he attended a recent citizen protest of the proposed Meadowcreek Parkway on the previous Saturday. As City Councilor, Taliaferro voted in favor of easements for the Meadowcreek Parkway in June 2008. He told reporters that he hadn’t changed his mind yet, but that he is listening carefully to the opposition’s arguments and is leaning “a little more” against the project then he had been previously.

Taliaferro stood with several current and former public officials while giving his address in front of City Hall. Former City Mayors Tom Vandever and Blake Caravati, current City Treasurer Jennifer Brown, current City Commissioner of Revenue Lee Richards, current City Commonwealth Attorney, Dave Chapman, and candidate for City Sheriff, Mike Baird, all stood to show their support for Taliaferro’s re-election campaign.  Brown, Richard and Chapman’s positions are elected in the City and will also appear on the November 2009 ballot.

See Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch page for complete coverage of the City's 2009 elections for City Council.

Daniel Nairn & Brian Wheeler

January 06, 2009

Top-10 Growth & Development Stories of 2008

In my weekly appearance today on WINA AM 1070 on the Charlottesville Right Now program, host Coy Barefoot and I will count down Charlottesville Tomorrow's top-10 growth and development stories of 2008.

This is the third year we have counted down the top-10 growth and development stories in Charlottesville-Albemarle.  This wouldn’t be possible without the support of WINA for the Charlottesville Right Now program, host Coy Barefoot for having me on the show each week, Charlottesville Tomorrow’s donors, and the excellent reporting by my colleague Sean Tubbs and our interns and fellows.

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Charlottesville Tomorrow's Top-10 Growth and Development Stories of 2008

  1. Approved 50-year Community Water Supply Plan comes under scrutiny as proposed Ragged Mountain Dam cost estimates rise and citizen group demands look at project alternatives and dredging options. [Review all our water supply news].
  2. Major new housing and retail developments held up by market forces and lack of adequate public infrastructure (e.g. sewer capacity impacting North Pointe and Albemarle Place developments). National economic recession impacts local government budgets, housing market, and new home construction.  New County residential building permits total 360 through September 2008, on track to be the lowest annual total in over a decade.
  3. Supervisor Ann Mallek’s first year representing the White Hall District on the six member Albemarle County Board of Supervisors results in several significant 4-2 votes breaking the 3-3 stalemate that had existed on issues like property taxes and rural area protection strategies.
  4. City and County agree to seek legislation to support formation of Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Transit Authority (CARTA), a jointly run public transit authority that would take over and expand the bus operations of the Charlottesville Transit Service (CTS). Separate legislation is being recommended by a work group of Supervisors and City Councilors to seek authority to raise funds for transportation projects (including transit operations) via a local sales tax increase, if approved in a voter referendum in each locality.
  5. Meadowcreek Parkway construction contract (for the County’s portion) awarded to Faulconer Construction with work scheduled to begin in early 2009. City Council opts for grade-separated “signalized diamond” interchange for the Parkway’s intersection with the Route 250. The Steering Committee had recommended a design with an overpass above an oval roundabout. City Planning Commission ends their work in 2008 with a recommendation to withdraw funding for City’s portion of project which is scheduled to go to bid in early 2009. 
  6. Albemarle County approves several rural area protection strategies. Three rural area ordinance changes were approved related to holding periods on family sub-divisions, stream buffers, and driveways across steep slopes. A new land use taxation revalidation program is also approved by a unanimous vote of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. 
  7. County continues review of economic development policy update in comprehensive plan and eyes light industrial zoning needs. As part of a lengthy (and frequently delayed) review of the Economic Development chapter of the Comprehensive Plan, Supervisors overturn a Planning Commission decision and opt to continue review of Yancey Mills Business Park, a proposal for a light industrial business park in Crozet near the I-64 and Route 250 interchange. Review of the economic development goals began in November 2007 and is once again on the agenda of the Board of Supervisors for their meeting on January 7, 2009.
  8. Charlottesville City Council holds retreat in Staunton, VACharlottesville Tomorrow attends as only observer from public or media
  9. Albemarle County improves citizen and media access to important planning information by providing Internet access to complete staff reports provided to the County Planning Commission and by releasing the County View web application which allows detailed tracking of planning and building applications. Combined with the County’s GISWEB application and complete access to Board of Supervisor meeting materials and podcasts, the County has an impressive collection of material available online.
  10. Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Pie Day 2008.  No other topic generated as much positive feedback and listener calls as Coy and Brian’s ongoing radio dialogue about homemade pies.

Brian’s predictions for the top stories of 2009

  • 50-year Community Water Supply Plan
  • Results of government efficiency reviews released by City and County.  What changes will be implemented?
  • Local elections will be held for City Council and Board of Supervisors (see Election Watch 2009)
  • General Assembly will block local sales tax increase for transportation funding and continue to shrink VDOT funding allocations to Charlottesville-Albemarle
  • Downtown Mall renovations will be completed.  Will it be under budget and on schedule? Monitor the progress here.
  • Local governments will face budget challenges as recession continues.  Revenue sharing from County to City will increase by $4 million to around $18 million a year.
  • Places29 Master Plan will be unveiled.  Will it be approved?
  • Crozet Master Plan’s first 5-year review gets underway
  • Meadowcreek Parkway construction gets underway. Will a lawsuit stall City’s portion?
  • Community will review of ASAP’s optimal population study findings

The best way to keep track of these and other stories about growth and development is to subscribe to our free weekly e-mail updates.  Thanks for listening, reading, and commenting in 2008!

Brian Wheeler

November 03, 2008

Supervisors provide direction to staff at retreat; ACE, transportation funding could be cut

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The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has provided direction to County staff regarding additional programs that may be cut in order to balance the County’s budget this year. The Board agreed that funding for the Acquisition of Conservation Easements (ACE) program, as well as funding for transportation and urban infrastructure projects, could be cut in order to balance a projected $1.8 million budget shortfall for the FY2010 budget. County Executive Bob Tucker will now factor the Supervisors’ feedback into the County’s five-year financial plan, as well as the budget for FY2010.  The projected deficit already reflects decreases in state and local revenues, no raises for staff, 57 frozen positions, and no new initiatives to address the strategic plan’s goals.  

County supervisors began taking strategic retreats in 2005, at a time when the County’s economic forecast was a lot brighter. The financial forecast gives Supervisors and County staff the ability to determine how spending decisions made in one year affect the County budget in future years. No final decisions were made at the most recent retreat, which was held on October 24, 2008 at the Virginia Department of Forestry Building. That location was chosen because the County did not have to pay to use the space.

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County Executive Bob Tucker

Assistant County Executive Tom Foley took Supervisors through the current iteration of the financial forecast, and said that they will make structural changes to the way the County does business.
“It is a sobering picture,” Foley said. “And it is going to require that we think differently. Not always about not doing something, but doing it differently, or how to take advantage of what we do have  and make the most progress we can possibly can given the circumstances.”

Foley said the County departments have been asked to provide 5% contingency plans, and added that those plans are being implemented. Discretionary spending has been reduced by $1 million through the end of FY2010, including the existing year’s budget. Agencies will not receive any increase in funding. There will now be 25 more frozen positions in general County government staff (57 positions total for FY2010), though public safety has largely been exempted

One cent of last year’s property tax increase was placed in a “lock-box” to only be used in fiscal emergency, and that money will be released to deal with the current fiscal year’s shortfall. Another penny of the tax rate will no longer go towards the Capital Improvement Program budget, and $200,000 will be taken from the Board’s reserve fund. Even with these steps, Foley said the County has a significant shortfall for next year’s budget.

“We still have $1.8 million left that we have to get to balance this picture,” Foley said.
Each cent brings in about $1.6 million into the County coffers. Because by policy 60% of new revenues collected go to the County school system, he said it would take a three-cent increase in property taxes to close the gap. Foley said another choice would be to make further reductions, and that the strategic retreat provided the opportunity for Supervisors to make decisions about funding the ACE program, transportation projects and urban infrastructure. One cent from the property tax rate funds ACE, and two cents go to the transportation fund. The County does not borrow money to pay for these programs, and has been using a pay-as-you-go strategy.

Foley said the County is also considering furloughs and reduced work-weeks, as well as property tax increases. He said fees are largely off the table because they have already been raised.
The current year five plan anticipates a one-cent tax increase in FY2010 as well as an additional cent in FY2011. The plan also currently assumes salary increases will resume in FY2011, but does not assume that positions can be unfrozen.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Staff led the six Supervisors through an assessment of the objectives of the strategic plan. 
On public safety, Assistant County Executive Bryan Elliot said that the County remains committed to achieving a goal of having a ratio of 1.5 police officers for every 1,000 citizens. However, the County also is 18 officers short of that goal with 223 officers currently serving. Elliot said that there may not be revenues to hire additional police officers until after FY2010. On fire services, Elliot said staff recommends extending the terms of a contract with Charlottesville where the City’s fire department serves the Pantops area. Construction of new fire stations for Pantops and Ivy have been pushed back further to FY2013 and FY2014 respectively.

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Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall)

Supervisor Ann Mallek (White Hall) said she thought it should be a goal of the County to pursue a regional, borderless system for fire rescue.  Fire Chief Dan Eggleston said that he and Charlottesville Chief Charles Werner have been working towards such an arrangement, and that the eventual construction of the Ivy and Pantops stations would be a major step towards that outcome. She also said she would like the Board to discuss whether response times by fire-rescue is a good metric for the County to gauge performance.

Supervisor David Slutzky (Rio) asked other Board members if they wanted to revisit the question of paying to hire additional police officers. He said the County’s strategic public safety goals set up an expectation that there will be more officers, but that the Board ends up sacrificing this goal to balance the County budget each year.

Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) pointed to the County’s most recent performance survey, which he said showed the public is satisfied with existing public safety services.  He said budgeting is about deploying resources where they are most needed, and that the County has many goals that are not being fully funded.

On  economic vitality, staff recommended continuing a $250,000 commitment to an Economic Opportunity Fund and also recommending renewing memberships in the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce.

Chairman Ken Boyd (Rivanna) said he would like to see guidelines developed for the usage of the Economic Opportunity Fund and said it was currently languishing.   Tom Foley said staff is also recommending the creation of guidelines to govern how the fund will be used. Slutzky said the $250,000 fund should be on the table as a potential cut. 

PROTECTING NATURAL RESOURCES

20081024-Slutky-Thomas
Supervisors David Slutzky (Rio) and Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller)

On protecting natural resources, Foley said one of the big decisions facing the Board is whether a stormwater utility fee should be assessed.  He will make a presentation to the Board in the near future before the budget season begins. That could bring in additional revenue.

On conservation easements, Foley said the County is on track to meet its goal of increasing the amount of land under protection. However, staff wanted feedback from the Supervisors on whether the $1.6 million slated for next year should continue to go to purchase easements given the budget shortfall.

Supervisor Sally Thomas (Samuel Miller) said the County has worked hard to gain community trust in the program, and that she would hate to see it cut. Slutzky said he agreed, but that he was “slightly more protective of transit” over ACE, but said both needed to be on the table “with profound reluctance expressed.” Slutzky then introduced the idea of agreeing to suspend funding for the ACE program to help with the shortfall, but to use some of the money to hire a consultant to help enroll interested landowners in other conservation easement programs.

Boyd said that he was intrigued by that idea.  Rooker said he could support a one-year suspension, because “in a year like this, everything is on the table.” Slutzky asked for staff to come back with some ideas of how such a one-year consultancy would work.

MASTER PLANNING

On master planning, Foley said staff will not meet its goal of completing all master plans by the end of 2010. He said the County had made good progress by completing the Pantops Master plan, but the Village of Rivanna and Places29 Master Plans are still working their way through the planning process. The Southern Urban Area Master Plan has not yet been begun. He said spacing out the expectations for completion of master plans would provide a break for an understaffed Community Development Department, who are scheduled to review the Crozet Master Plan beginning next summer.
Community Development Director Mark Graham said the Southern Urban Area Master Plan could be delayed because the past Area B Study done in conjunction with UVA and the City already includes a “significant framework” for how to guide growth in that region. He said the County was not rewriting the Crozet plan, but would instead revisit it to make any necessary corrections.

Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier (Scottsville) said that he thought the Southern Urban Area Master Plan should be done as soon as possible to prepare for Biscuit Run. Boyd said he wanted to know how much money was being spent on master planning.

Rooker said he supported staff’s recommendation. “We do need to move forward and get completed the ones that have been started. The worst thing you can do is to start a process, engage the public, and not finish it.”

Sally Thomas wondered if postponing review of the Crozet Master Plan might be one way to save money in the upcoming fiscal year. “People are willing to make sacrifices if they understand the purposes of what’s going on,” Thomas said. “There are other things in the community development work plan that I’d like to see done.” Slutzky was also concerned that the Crozet Master Plan would be revisited before the Places29 Master Plan is completed.

TRANSPORTATION

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Supervisors Mallek, Ken Boyd (Rivanna) and Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett)

Foley also said the County would have a hard time meeting is strategic goals of paying for local and regional projects. Foley acknowledged that the Meadowcreek Parkway is going to go to construction despite the economic slowdown, but said County staff are concerned about future transportation revenues. The financial plan does not contain any additional money to expand transit, according to Foley. Staff is recommending revisiting the inclusion of two-cents into a transportation fund that currently has a $6 million balance and is not committed to any projects.

“The question is, what can we do with the money that we have now in these difficult times?” Foley asked. He also said the Board needs to give direction on how to allocate money between roads and transit? Should County money be used to build the critical connectors necessary to implement the Master Plans? Should there be a local priority list to determine how to fund those projects?

Dennis Rooker said he didn’t think there would be much chance of paying for new projects. He said that the County should continue to pursue the enabling authority for a Regional Transit Authority, even if the chances of separately getting enabling authority for a funding mechanism are slim. Slutzky said he thought the County and the City should go forward with both.

Boyd said the City should be pressed to spend the revenue-sharing money it receives from the County on regional infrastructure projects. “There are $17 million that are going into this fund that are going into the City’s coffers, and in my mind, things like regional transportation or the transit authority and the regional need for affordable housing, should be put back on the table as something that should be addressed with some of those funds.”

Slutzky said he was not supportive of taking money from the transportation fund to pay for other projects, but said he was willing to use the $6 million currently in the fund for projects. He also said he did not want to end the transfer of 2 cents a year to that fund, but that it should be on the table. Boyd and  Mallek also did not want to take it off the table. Supervisor Rooker said he wanted to also keep the issue open.

“I think these are pretty extraordinary times,” Rooker said. “I do think that this is a time when we might want to consider suspending that for a period of time to deal with a crisis situation.” However, Rooker said the County should not raid the transportation fund, and even suggested the Board should hold a work session to determine the best way to spend the money. Foley said one would be scheduled.

FUNDING URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE

The final decision of the day regarded funding for urban infrastructure. Tom Foley explained that there are some projects connected with the Crozet and Pantops Master Plans that are currently scheduled to be paid from the operating budget. Would the board be willing to delay those projects in order to help address the shortfall? 

Rooker said he did not want to raid funds for existing projects, but did suggest he would be open to not setting aside money this year for those projects.

County Executive Bob Tucker said his staff would come back with more information before the financial plan is brought back at the Board’s next meeting. He concluded by asking one more question. Would Supervisors be willing to consider a tax increase to deal with the shortfall? Slutzky said he wanted to see what a tax increase might yield before the County makes a decision on the transportation fund, ACE and urban infrastructure. Slutzky said he would like to try to find a way to add salary increases and new initiatives back into the budget if possible.

OTHER FEEDBACK FROM SUPERVISORS

Sally Thomas said she was not satisfied in the County’s progress in protecting the rural areas. She said that was concerned that many of the 77 strategies called for in the Rural Areas Section of the Comprehensive Plan have not been accomplished.  Lori Allshouse said the department is down 2.5 positions, which has made it more difficult to accomplish the County’s strategic goals.  Facilitating the retreat, Lee Catlin, the County’s Community relations Officer, said that staff felt like they had taken the strategies as far as they could and thus it was considered by staff to be largely completed. Catlin suggested the goal be updated in the future if there were more specific goals the Board wanted to address.  Supervisor Dennis Rooker said he would like to go back and revisit the Rural Areas Plan at a future work session.

Ken Boyd said he wanted to be able to plot out the ramifications on budgetary decisions across the five-year financial plan. He also wanted to know how much money is being spent on consultant fees and suggested cutting that figure in half would be one way to bridge the shortfall.  Staff will present the latest five-year financial forecast on November 5, 2008.

Sean Tubbs

May 07, 2008

Boyd questions expenditure to fix McIntire Skate Park

20080507-Boyd The McIntire Road Skate Park was built in 2000 with a mixture of City, County and private funds. Since then, the County has contributed to the park’s operating expenses because County residents make up half of the use of the City-run park. However, the park was recently closed for safety reasons due to deteriorating conditions. The City purchased $187,000 worth of replacement ramps and other supporting structures, and has asked the County to pay for half the bill.

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“This happens to us quite often that the City does something and says ‘Oh by the way, here’s the bill’”, said Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ken Boyd (Rivanna) when the item came up on the consent agenda for the Board’s meeting on May 7.  He said he did not object to spending the money, but he did think the County should have had a say in the process. “Too often the City just assumes we’re going to cough up money for things.”

Pat Mullaney, the County’s Director of Parks and Recreation, said the bill from the City came as a surprise, but he supported his City counterpart’s unilateral decision to close the park. “We scrambled to find a way to participate, because especially in these hard times we have to maintain our partnerships,” Mullaney said.
Boyd said a joint City and County committee makes decisions about the operations of Darden Towe park, and suggested that the Skate Park be run in the same fashion.  Supervisor Dennis Rooker (Jack Jouett) said he agreed with Boyd, especially considering the tight budgetary climate.

“We spent a good amount of time arguing about $10,000, $5,000 items on our budget this past year, and now we have a $93,500 expenditure that we didn’t know we were going to have,” Rooker said. “Those arrangements where we share expenses, we need to have an equal say in the making of expenditures.”

County Executive Bob Tucker said he would follow up with City Manager Gary O’Connell, but said that were not too many similar arrangements.  Mullaney said he would like to formalize his department’s arrangements with the City.

“I see our relationship with the City expanding in the future, and as times get tough partnerships are important, and we’re one community and we need to  work more together,” Mullaney said.

Boyd suggested the County’s “fair share” of these types of expenditures should come from the revenue sharing agreement. The County paid $13.6 million to the City for Fiscal Year 2008-2009. Slutzky said without the revenue sharing agreement, the City would have annexed a large portion of the County’s tax base. Rooker said if the agreement is broken, the City could pursue annexation if the state moratorium on the practice is allowed to expire in 2010.  

Sean Tubbs