York County Board of Supervisors District 2 Q&A: Sheila Noll

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Sheila Noll served as vice chairman of the York County Board of Supervisors in 2012. She was not nominated to be chairman in 2013, bucking tradition.

WYDaily sent an identical questionnaire to each candidate running for a seat on the York County Board of Supervisors.

Incumbent Sheila Noll is running unopposed in District 2. Noll’s answers are unedited and presented below.

The election takes place Nov. 3.

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?

Three major issues facing York County: The future of the Plains Refinery, the Dominion Power facility and Improvement of our “Main Street: – George Washington Highway (Route 17)

The Board has expressed concern over this loss of revenue. Our Administrator, Economic Development Director and the Economic Development Authority are the ones best qualified to explore future uses of both properties. They are studying all options and will advise the Board of their findings.

With input from the Board, the County Administrator, has formed a staff committee to address the corridor issue and they will take into consideration suggestions from both our citizens and the business community.  This roadway is York’s “Main Street” and is an important gateway to Historic Yorktown. The widening of Route 17 has given us the opportunity to revisit past plans.

2. How would you describe the working relationship between the school board and the Board of Supervisors? What can the Board of Supervisors do to improve or enhance this relationship?

I would say that with the hiring of a new superintendent, the working relationship has vastly improved. Communication has played an important role. The more both boards meet, the more understanding the Board of Supervisors is of the others point of view and needs. The same is true with the School Board.  This year York is including the School Board’s priorities in the Priorities and Positions we submit to our legislators.

3. How well do you feel the supervisors work together? What do you feel you can bring to the board’s dynamic?

Although the board is comprised of diverse personalities, we are all conservative and vote accordingly with few disagreements. As a woman, I bring a different and added perspective.

4. The Board of Supervisors passed a budget last year that included a raise for county employees and an increase in its transfer to the school division without increasing the real estate tax rate. What will be your budget priorities if elected to this four-year term? Do you see a need to raise the tax rate in the near future? Why or why not?

If I had a Chrystal Ball, I might better answer this question! My priorities have always been to provide a quality education for our children, a safe environment for our families and the services that the citizens have come to expect as cost effectively as possible. The county has done so and has still kept the tax rate low.  Should the time come when the needs become greater than the revenue, then it will my job as a supervisor to present to the citizens in a complete, open and dispassionate fashion, the reasons why the present tax revenue will no longer meet their expectations.

5. What role do you think York County plays as a regional partner with James City County and the City of Williamsburg? How do you see that relationship developing over the next few years?

York must continue to work together for the benefit of the Peninsula and Hampton Roads– not just the Historic Triangle- when it best serves the future needs and quality of life of York County.

6. In light of the recent closure of Western Refining and the impending closure of the Yorktown Power Station, how do you see the county’s economic landscape evolving?

Due to the closing of the refinery and the anticipated closure of the Yorktown Power Station, the county stands to lose additional substantial revenue which will put constraints on future necessary county infrastructure improvements.  Our staff has been cut through attrition and many are doing the work of two. We are a much leaner operation but we have still been able to fulfill our service obligations to our citizens.   Increased economic development, however, and the profitable reuse of these properties will play an important part in the future economic health of the county. Until the economic conditions improve, we will continue to move forward in a measured and conservative manner.

7. Route 17 is in the midst of a widening project that is scheduled for completion in December 2016. What other transportation projects do you believe the county and/or the Virginia Department of Transportation should prioritize? Why?

Traffic congestion stifles progress and threatens the economic viability of our region. Moving people to work and goods to market in a reasonable amount of time is paramount to the success of any region. The Virginia Department of Transportation should heed the voices of local governments and businesses in Hampton Roads and fund the widening of I-64 to six lanes between Williamsburg and Richmond to complete the work already in progress from Newport News to Williamsburg.

8. How would you characterize the state of the county’s infrastructure? Which infrastructure projects do you consider priorities? What actions and/or policies would you encourage to address those priorities?

Like most local governments that had to tighten their belts during the downturn in the economy, York trimmed wherever we could in order to still provide needed services to our citizens. We stretched the life expectancy of infrastructure to do so. Many computer programs are seriously laborious and are in dire need of replacement in order to improve efficiency.  HVAC – building repairs – roofs, etc. The courts need to expand back into the Finance Building, displacing several departments, the Commissioner of Revenue and the Treasurer.  Another building is needed. The logical location would be in an expanded or new Administration building.  The present building is so old that it would be more efficient to replace it. The Yorktown Library is also bursting at its seams.  Before we do anything, however, I support taking another comprehensive look at what the county really needs – long range, develop a funding plan and then beginning to implement it without delay.  Such a  Plan has been done before but because of the economy, it was temporarily shelved.