Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Augusta BOS ... and then there were seven candidates

With the announcement on Monday that Larry Wills, who served on the Augusta County Board of Supervisors in the early 1990s, will be running for the Middle River District seat, the total of candidates jumped to seven. Current Middle River supervisor Gerald Garber announced last week he would not seek re-election.

That is with only two of the seven supervisors announcing their intentions and possible other candidates in the wings. Not in the 16 years that I've lived here can I remember so many candidates expressing interest in supervisor.

Something is driving citizens to run for public office. Could it be the 2009 assessments ... the 2010 fire issue ... the need for jobs?

Supervisor Tracy Pyles, the senior member of the board who has announced he will run for re-election, as well as candidates Kurt Michael, Marshall Pattie, and David Karaffa, have stated that the reassessments, fire and rescue, staggered terms, education, and economic development are some of the reasons they are running.

On Monday, Larry Wills agreed with those issues but he went a step further with his thoughts of the current board, saying he would like to see them extend respect to the citizens, as noted by reporter Megan Davis in the Waynesboro News Virginian:
“People I talk to in the county have lost respect for their board ... Our first response should be ‘how can I help?’ not ‘no, you can’t do that,’ ” he said. “I will strive to ensure that this attitude is reflected by all county staff.”

Echoing several other candidates who have announced intentions to seek office, Wills also listed the county’s most recent reassessment, staggered terms and fire and rescue as critical issues.

“The next board should immediately begin a new reassessment process,” he said. “The first thing that should happen is to analyze the previous process to see how, within the framework of the Code of Virginia, the concerns that arose during the previous process can be addressed.”
Donald Hanger, who was on the board as Riverheads supervisor before Nancy Sorrells, agreed with Wills:
Jay Donald Hanger, who also served on the board with Wills, agreed with his stance.

“The cities of Staunton and Waynesboro had reassessments and of course property values dropped,” he said. “They had to adjust their budgets to meet the needs of the public. By putting it off another year, the county sure didn’t help residents. There needs to be a reassessment of true property values.” [emphasis added]
"Putting it off another year" was referring to adding an additional year to the current assessments that are considered flawed by many, as noted in a News Virginian article from January.

Jason Bibeau, running for county treasurer, has noted the assessment issue as a direct reason, along with others, for his running against the incumbent who is seeking his third term.

Election Day is on November 8.

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