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WYDaily sent an identical questionnaire to each candidate running for the Stonehouse District seat on the James City County Board of Supervisors.
Newcomer Sue Sadler faces incumbent Jim Kennedy in the race. Sadler’s answers are unedited and presented below.
The election takes place Nov. 3.
Read a completed questionnaire from Kennedy here.
1. What do you feel are the three major issues facing the county right now? What are your ideas on how to address those issues?
….First, I feel we need to address the fact that we have just raised taxes without a strategic plan or public facilities master plan, which is in our 2009 award winning comp plan but has never been implemented. As I’ve said before, this is putting the cart before the horse and a very irresponsible way to spend tax payers money. We need to have the plan in place FIRST. Many citizens have told me they certainly do not run their household budgets by spending first and then planning, and asking why the County is doing this.
..Second, our debt is a tremendously important issue. This can directly be attributed to the enormous amount of land purchases. By prioritizing and planning in advance we will be able to address this issue.
….Third, returning civility to the Board room and improving the relationship between the BOS and citizens by being more respectful. The Board works for the citizens, not the other way around. Also, more accountability through public comment and an online checkbook are important issues to me.
2. Talk about the effects of the real estate tax rate increase on the county and its citizens. If elected, what factors will you consider when setting the property tax rate for fiscal year 2017?
Ive been talking to citizens at their doors since June and I’m hearing a resounding “No” to this recent tax increase. Citizens are telling me that this is placing a burden on them and the talking point that was used by all but one on this current board, that “it’s only about $20 a month for most citizens”, is highly offensive to them. I also hear that they’re “making JCC unaffordable.”
Businesses are telling me that this is burdensome to them as well, adding to the poor business climate that already exists.
Factors that will need to be considered when setting the tax rate will be determined by our current revenue upswing and our essential service needs. Our first responders and schools should always be at the top of the priority list.
3. How do you propose to control growth in the county, particularly in light of concerns about the Primary Service Area’s effectiveness and school capacity?
The current method of controlling growth via the PSA is outdated, very unpredictable and unfair. We have no policy regarding the PSA and I think this is something we should create.
The current practice of governing by exception in unacceptable. Zoning is the preferred method of choice to determine our growth needs.
4. Stormwater issues were at the forefront of budget discussions earlier this year. County stormwater officials identified several communities that lack the drainage infrastructure needed to deal with runoff. How would you direct the county to manage drainage issues?
Communities like Stonehouse and Colonial Heritage offer extensive stormwater management systems paid for by property owners. I seems unfair to me, to ask those folks to pay for maintenance and upkeep of their facilities through HOA dues and turn around and tax them again to cover their neighbors who are not doing their fair share to save the Bay. We are all in it together – so let’s be smart about things and not get ahead of the regulators who are still working on the details of the MS4 program. Let’s hold VDOT accountable to do their job as well. JCC will end up spending millions, perhaps even 10s of millions, over the next 20 years. If we were smart, JCC government should demand that regulators direct their attention to the source of 65% of the nutrients in the lower Bay and find a replacement for using chicken feces as fertilizer on farms located on the Eastern Shore.
5. The James City Service Authority is exploring alternative water sources in response to declining water levels in underground aquifers. One option is a multi-million deal JCSA first signed in 2008 to purchase water from Newport News Waterworks. How would you address the county’s water needs in light of a depleting groundwater supply? Would you look to renegotiate the deal James City County has with Newport News Waterworks? Why or why not?
..Water is an extremely important issue and we need to be seriously considering our options, Once again, we need to take a step back and wait for the study to be completed that was directed by a vote in the General Assembly. This won’t be complete until Nov 2016. At this time, I am not in favor of renegotiating any deal with NN. The Code of Va. states that human consumption takes precedence over anything else so I would like to examine the options of West Point Paper Mill using an alternative water source rather than drinking water for processing. As I’ve said numerous times, we must out people before products!
6. James City County has sought state grants to help fund some of its major transportation initiatives and road projects. Which transportation issues do you think should be priorities for the county, if any?
…The Skiffe’s Creek connector will be extremely important for the residents in Grove, especially by relieving extreme traffic issues. Supervisor Jones has played a major role representing the citizens of JCC on HRPDC-TPO, working on actual solutions to our transportation needs, including Skiffe’s Creek and Longhill Rd.
7. The James City County Board of Supervisors has expressed its opposition to Dominion’s preference to build a switching station on county land. What is your opinion on Dominion’s proposed power line crossing the James River and the proposed switching station? Would you vote to grant Dominion’s rezoning request? Why or why not?
…The Army Corps of Engineers will have the final say, and from what I’ve read in my research, one way or another we will be getting power lines. Apparently they have also determined that the lines will be above the water. I don’t feel it appropriate to comment on an upcoming Board vote.
8. The Board of Supervisors redesigned its public comment period earlier this year to give more consistency to the start time of public hearings. How do you feel about the change? Would you adjust it or keep the new system?
…This new “system” has proven to be a dismal failure. While the initial thought was to help the public hearing section, citizens, applicants and attorneys are still not provided a predictable meeting. One case in point, the first meeting in June, applicants and their attorneys, and citizens sat for hours listening to cases ONLY to have it all deferred because my opponent went on vacation. How is this helpful to anyone?
I understand and agree with the desire to help applicants have their cases heard promptly, especially those paying attorneys, but in doing so the citizens public comment time has been infringed upon. Those who may have a comment on a decision that’s on the agenda may not have the opportunity to do so because of the time limit some on this current board are in favor of. I find this to be unacceptable and would propose changes be made to be more accommodating to the citizens.