At the end of yesterday’s meeting of the

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

, Ken Boyd (Rivanna) responded to public criticism of the Board from earlier in the evening and offered clarifications about the intent of his motions last week to

create a $250,000 economic development fund

and to have the County

rejoin the Chamber of Commerce

, a business advocacy organization it has not belonged to since the 1970s.

First, Mr. Boyd responded to citizen complaints that the actions were taken at the end of the last meeting under other business and thus they were not on the agenda for public comment (nor for that matter were they something on which the Board received advanced reports from staff).

“Unfortunately, our procedure is such that other matters from the public are at the beginning of each meeting and other matters from the Board members are at the end of each meeting, so that is the only time we have to bring up matters that are of concern to us.”

I other situations late in their meetings, Board members have sought consensus to have something placed on the agenda for future discussion and public comment, something Mr. Boyd proceeded to do a few moments later when he sought and received Board consensus to have a work session on Mr. Slutzky’s transfer of development rights (TDR) initiative at a future meeting.

Then Mr. Boyd turned to explaining his view of the votes to create the economic development fund and join the Chamber of Commerce.

“What I proposed, and what was in my mind, and what was approved were two accounting entries, not policy changes.  We had $200,000 of undesignated money in our budget for this year and I asked that it be set aside for future use as an opportunity fund.  I also asked for the additional $50,000 to be worked through the public process and brought forward as part of our budget for next year.  In my mind that was an accounting entry.”

“The other [issue] was that we paid our dues for the Chamber of Commerce.  Now I don’t like the term ‘seat at the table,’ but if you think about it, we’ve had a seat at the table for thirty years… [County Executive] Bob [Tucker] has been on the Board of Directors for the last 15-16 years… somehow that didn’t corrupt our County….I just felt that we not free load anymore and that we pay our dues.  So I asked that it be brought forward as a budget initiative and as an appropriation initiative and I asked that it be done at a time when we have a public hearing…”

The expenditure for Chamber dues will be on the agenda for a future public hearing as an ‘accounting entry’ in the next regular batch of appropriations periodically approved by the Supervisors.

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Brian Wheeler

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Charlottesville Tomorrow

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