Rivanna District Candidates Forum
On October 17, 2007, the two candidates for the
on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors appeared at a candidates forum sponsored by the
Free Enterprise Forum
Republican incumbent Ken Boyd and Democratic challenger Marcia Joseph answered ten questions on land use, transportation, and growth in the County. The candidates also answered several questions submitted by members of the audience. About fifty people attended the forum, which was held at Baker-Butler Elementary School on Proffit Road. The event was co-moderated by Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum and Sean Tubbs of Charlottesville Tomorrow.
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Ken Boyd (R): “I’m a 26-year resident of the County. I’m married and I have four children, all of whom were educated in the public schools here. I spent 23 years as a professional in the banking business before starting my own financial planning company 16 years ago, and that’s what I do today, I’m a financial planner. Because I was very interested in my kids and their schools, I have a real passion for education, so in 1999, I decided to run for the School Board. I ran, was elected, and served four years as the School Board representative from this area… After that, my youngest son had graduated from Monticello High School, and he had moved on to JMU, and I didn’t have any more kids left in school, so I decided to move up to the Board of Supervisors and ran for that in 2003, and have served, this is my fourth year. I’m currently the Chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. There’s really a number of things that we’ve accomplished in the last four years… I’m going to touch on just a couple of them… One is in water, and I know it seems to you like it does to me that nothing has been done about our water situation since the 2002 drought, but the Board of Supervisors and the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority have been actively working to put together a 50-year plan, and we’re about a month or two away from getting that approved. I’m real happy with that. I was particularly pleased that I was able to work with Dave Brown, the Mayor of Charlottesville, and he and I went to Washington and got the money for the completion of the Meadowcreek Parkway, and if you’ve been reading the paper, we’re actually going to get that road built here in the next year, I think we’ll put it out for bids… Lastly, I think that one of the things I’m really happy about that’s just come out recently is, you know, we weren’t able in either the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors to approve the first SOCA location for their complex, but I’ve been working closely with them ever since, and we’ve now come up with an alternative location which we feel will work for both them and us, and we’re really excited about that.”
Marcia Joseph (D): “I’m the current chair of the Albemarle County Planning Commission. I’m a 23-year resident. I do also have children who graduated from Albemarle High School, and thanks to Mark Curry, our chemistry teacher at Albemarle High School, are now chemists, so I’m very proud of them. There’s a lot of things that have gone on in my life in Albemarle County, and I’ve done a lot of public service, I’ve worked for 12 years either on one board or another commission. I’ve been on the Architectural Review Board, I’ve been chair of that, I’ve been on the Ag-Forest District Committee, and I’ve also served on the Acquisition of Conservation Easements Committee. All of these very important issues to me. I think that it’s extremely important for us to have transparency in government, which is exactly what I plan on doing. I think it’s important to have all kinds of communication go on between Rivanna, between the Albemarle County Service Authority, between the City and the County. I work currently with, and have friends in, City government and Rivanna. I think it’s not just the fact that they’re friends, but the important aspect that I feel that we’ve been lacking is communication. I think that’s extremely important. I think that it’s time that we started looking at how we develop in this County, and make sure that anything that comes down the pike is not what we develop, or is not what we approve, but we only approve things in this County that improve the conditions for the existing residents of Albemarle County. I think that we’ve found that our infrastructure now is failing, and needs help, and now its time to pay the piper and we’re going to have to figure out how we’re going to do this. So, that’s why I’m running.
Question 1: How would you assess Albemarle County’s growth management strategies? What other steps would you advocate be taken to discourage development in the rural countryside and encourage development in the growth areas? Are the existing incentives adequate?
Marcia Joseph (D): “I think that what we’ve done is we’ve managed to definitely encourage growth. We’ve got over 1400 residential units that have been created, and just in our neck of the woods, along 29 corridor, we’ve got over a million square feet of retail space that’s been approved, which according to our latest Comprehensive Plan, is a whole lot more than we’re going to need by the year 2015. So, I don’t think we’ve done a real good job in measuring how much we’re putting into different areas. We also have not really done a good job with discouraging growth in the rural areas. We’ve had several items that have come before the Board of Supervisors in the last few years that would just slow down growth, just slow it down a little bit. One was phasing, and that would not allow so many units, so many lots to be created in a year, and the other night had to do with critical slopes, family division, and stream buffers. And those were very benign things, and were just not approved by the Board, and I think it’s really important that those sorts of small steps be taken so that we can discourage a lot of growth in our rural areas because that really helps create the character of our rural areas, and the character of Albemare County as a whole.”
Ken Boyd (R): “First of all, I want to comment on the rather benign ordinance changes that we put before the Board of Supervisors the other night because we had over a hundred speakers come out that spoke until 1:00, til 12:30 in the morning, that didn’t feel like they were very benign changes… The Board of Supervisors did not, did not vote those down. They felt they just needed more work, and so that’s what we’re going to do with these, we’re going to have some more work done, try and get more people to buy into it. Now, I have here, I think that our growth management activities are working. I have here, the spring 2006 Clarion, which is put out by the Piedmont Environment Council, and it says, Albemarle landowners set conservation record, and it goes on to talk about how in 2005, we put 10,500 acres into conservation easements, and that brought up the total acreage to around 60,000, and this kind of lauds what we’re doing. I know that there’s a lot of perception being put out there, but I like to deal in real numbers. I’m a numbers type guy, I’m a financial type person, so, what I did was I went back and I got the building report, the latest building report for the 2nd quarter of this year. And if you compare it to a similar building report in 2004, 46% of the new housing starts… was in the rural area. In 2007, through the second quarter… it’s 16%… These issues are beginning to work and beginning to take hold now. It’s very soon in the process, and I’d be the first to admit that it’s early on to be declaring that we’ve really shut down all the level of growth we want in the rural areas…”
Question 2: How important is creating new jobs to the future of Albemarle County? Should particular businesses be encouraged or discouraged from coming to or remaining in Albemarle County? Who? How?
Ken Boyd (R): “This was an issue on jobs that I ran on 4 years ago, because we were coming off of the year in 2003, a period of time when we had a number of closings of manufacturing jobs. ConAgra, Comdial, Technicolor… We constantly need to be trying to promote job growth in this community… I think we can all agree that what we want are good clean industries here…. Biotech would be an excellent thing for us… I was part of the people on the Board who promoted us joining the [Thomas Jefferson] Partnership for Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce, and the reason for this is that those people thinking about bringing jobs to our area were concerned with the fact that when they were talking to the University of Virginia, when they were talking to the Partnership, that the County of Albemarle wasn’t there… In addition to that, we’ve also set up a $250,000 jobs opportunity fund, which we haven’t had to use yet, but I certainly hope that we have some opportunity come up that we can use those funds for job training or for other things that might attract jobs to our areas.
Marcia Joseph (D): “We have an unemployment rate that is 2.7%, around 3%… I think what I hear more from people is not so much that we need jobs here, but we need some jobs that are higher pay and better quality and that goes hand in hand also with affordable housing… We have some really good resources in town, people who have made some home-grown businesses: MusicToday, SNL Securities, Biotage, Crutchfield. There’s a bunch of people who have stayed right here and made some money, and created some businesses. What I’d like to do is talk to these folks… and find out what is it about Albemarle County that made you do this, how can we make it easier for you, and how can we create some jobs here? I’m not so sure that it’s important that we attract all kinds of things, though Albemarle County has never turned down anything to my knowledge…
Question 3: How will you deal with neighborhood opposition to rezonings in our growth areas that are in line with the goals of Albemarle’s Comprehensive plan?
Marcia Joseph (D): “I’ve really had some real interesting experiences while being on the Planning Commission, and one of them is that normally we have neighbors come in, and they’re really concerned and they speak to the developers and they say why these things shouldn’t happen, but recently in the last couple of years we’ve actually had some developers come in because something has come that wants to happen, some rezoning next to their properties, so I’m finding it kind of comical that we have this sort of thing happen, because it’s human nature. People don’t like change. People don’t like the fact that what their expectations are, this piece of property was going to stay the same, it makes it difficult. Our comprehensive plan is our plan. It helps guide us with growth, if growth is necessary in any particular area… I think it’s important to listen to people. They’re the people who live in that neighborhood. I listen to those developers that came in and complained, just as much as I listen to any other neighbor that comes in, and talks about and explains to me how this will have an effect on their property…. I think it’s important that we also look at our Comprehensive Plan and look at the Community as a whole… there’s some sort of middle ground that we have to come to when we’re doing something like that…
Ken Boyd (R): “I am on record saying… that I will do everything possible as a Board of Supervisor representative to preserve our existing neighborhoods, even if that means going against issues that are in the comprehensive plan. I personally don’t believe that we should do things like put connector roads through existing neighborhoods where the existing roads are not set up to handle that…I think an example of that is the stand that I took on Ashwood Boulevard, which I did not want to connect to Polo Grounds Road, and we heard from over 800 residents in the Forest Lakes area saying they were opposed to that particular road… We’ve now got that taken off of the plan for Places29…. I much prefer the alternative of taking the new neighborhoods and putting parallel roads through them if we need to do it…If we build a neighborhood with the idea that they’re going to have a road that is a commuter road that’s taking people through their neighborhood… then at least they bought their house knowing what’s going on…”
Question 4: Albemarle County has dedicated $2 million towards priority transportation projects. With the state unable to fund critical road projects, what do you see as the responsibility of local government bodies to fund road projects?
Ken Boyd (R): “I guess since I am the Supervisor who originally promoted the idea of putting more money into transportation, that I would have to say that I think that, unfortunately, we have to step up. We have to step up here locally because we have transportation problems that are not being dealt with by the state so we have no alternative but to put money into our own transportation… One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve recently put a proffer policy, where we are going to get from developers money up front for every house that’s built that will go into paying for infrastructure costs, things like schools and roads and transportation…There’s something we have to be very careful about. In my opinion, VDOT or let’s just say the state, would very much like to turn over road-building to the counties, and road-maintenance to the counties. We can’t do that. We can’t put that kind of burden on property taxes… They have been giving us less money and we get less money today than we got ten years ago…One of the things you’ll probably see next year from the Board of Supervisors is a proposal for a bond issue so that we can go ahead. We’ve been paying as you go for most of the time that we’ve been funding infrastructure in this area, and we can’t keep up with the inflated cost of it…
Marcia Joseph (D): “I think our responsibility is to find out what our priorities are… If we’re going to do bond referendums and we’re going to do general obligations, we’d better find out from people if this is what they want to happen, or if these are the improvements that they want to happen at this point in time. I do think there are some important things. We do hear a lot about traffic and we’re going to have to do something about it. There are other ways we need to look at this, too. If it’s traffic related, maybe we can still looking at other modes of transportation. Maybe we need to think about doing somethings a little creatively, like using transit, and trying to figure out some ways that we can really get people to use mass transit… Maybe we need to talk about other forms of transportation like bicycles… What’s the best way to spend our money? If we’re going to go out and we’re going to ask some financial institution to lend us some money, what do we want to spend it on? So I think we really need to start talking about those things. I think this is an opportunity for us to become a very unique community… It is not just roadways. I think we need to think about other means of transportation, and how we might handle that… I do think we may have to borrow some money, but I would certainly make a point of coming to the community and making sure that’s exactly what they wanted to happen.”
Question 5: Albemarle County has expectations for the development community to build or pay for affordable housing. Do you agree with that approach? How do you believe the County should address the need for not just affordable housing, but also workforce housing?
Marcia Joseph (D): “I have worked with Habitat for Humanity, and so I know what goes on in some of the lower realms, you know, 50% of median income. Affordable housing in our community is defined as 80% of median income. I think that this is an absolutely wonderful opportunity for us to do public-private partnerships… There’s a group out there that’s talking about community land trusts… I’ve been involved with those people… it’s just really exciting because it’s a way to provide affordable housing by using private funds and if we can get, if I’m on the Board, I would like to encourage other board members to also endorse and commit to providing some funds for this… Right now what we’ve got going in our affordable housing is that the proffers that we have are for five years only. So, that piece of property would stay affordable for five years and that’s it… This would leave it so that it would stay forever…”
Ken Boyd (R): “I want to first address the land trust idea… That’s been presented to our Board with encouragement from our existing Board for them to get the act together and come back and tell us what they want to do there… That’s something I’m very intrigued with and I think it’s an excellent idea. I think that we’ve got a good start on the affordable housing project. But, as Marcia says, what we’ve done, and I’m not sure why we did it this way, but we sort of identified our affordable housing policy around 80% of median income… That does not touch the workforce housing needs in this community… These things are driven by market-rates. We’re very very concerned about what’s going on with the sub-prime markets now and what that’s going to do to the lenders… It’s a much more complicated issue than that. I’m looking for great results out of our task force. It’s a City, County, University task force that’s looking at it, and they’re trying to define what the problem is so that we can break it up into manageable pieces and tackle it.”
Question 6: “The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission have both had work sessions on the, transportation elements of the Places29 Master Plan. Will you support Berkmar Drive Extended from the Sam’s Club to Hollymead Town Center and grade separation on Route 29 as major components of that plan? Why or why not?”
Ken Boyd (R): “First of all, I have been a big supporter of Berkmar Drive Extended for a long time… We’ve actually had the opportunities in the past to try and get that done but our Board has decided to hold off zoning applications that might have accomplished at least getting some of that road built until such time as the master planning process is over… I think that’s an important parallel road to 29 that we need to build. We’re going to have to come up with a bridge, and it’s going to be expensive for that bridge, but it needs to be done. Now, I’m not sure that I’m ready to turn Route 29 into an expressway… We’ve got… 12 percent that’s through-traffic. So why would we want to build an expensive expressway with a bunch of overpasses that are going to handle just 12 percent of the traffic?
Marcia Joseph (D): “The consultants have looked at this in any number of different ways and have come to the conclusion that [Berkmar Extended] is the way we can move traffic most effectively on 29… I do support that. It’s going to be a real huge challenge to try to come up with the money for that bridge. I’ve heard anywhere between $14 million and $40 million… The grade separated interchanges have been a problem in a lot of people’s for many many years. I met with one of the members of the North Charlottesville Business Council today and I’m going to sit down with him next week and try to figure out what it is about that whole process or that whole design that is so problematic to people… It’s hard for me to say I don’t agree with it, because we’ve got engineers and experts that we’re paying an awful lot of money, that are telling us that that’s the way to solve our problems. I realize that we’re the people who are leaders and we’re supposed to look at this and make sure that it’s right, so that’s what I’m doing now…
Question 7: Do you support a limited access bypass for Route 29 around northern Charlottesville and, if so, where would that be located?
Marcia Joseph (D): “I really don’t. I think that the Places29 [Master Plan] has determined that we don’t need that. I mean, I haven’t heard that as part of their recommendations, and again, I’m relying on experts but I’m not an engineer and haven’t done any traffic modeling, but they say we don’t need it, so I don’t support it.”
Ken Boyd (R): “Well, just so everybody understands, the so-called Western Bypass as its more commonly referred to was not, was taken out of the study group, so they were not allowed to look at that as an alternative, so that was the recommendation, that was a majority of the Board that did that. I in fact do support a connector road. I would rather call it a western connector rather than a western bypass. I think that if we follow the route of the existing, proposed bypass, by which they’ve bought most all of the land already for that, and then if we had a road that would dump in right across from Leonard Sandridge Road, that this would be an excellent help to us to route traffic off of 29 and we could then possibly have 29 become that main street that we want it to be… But, for right now, there’s not enough support on the Board to do that so that’s not a road that’s even being considered as part of Places29.”
Question 8: The county’s water and sewer infrastructure will need upgrades and expansion. How do you propose to fund our water and sewer infrastructure and over what time frame?. What changes, if any, would you make to the boards of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority or the Albemarle County Service Authority?
Ken Boyd (R): “When I first came on the Board four years ago… one of the things I wanted to do, I was concerned about the water supply and the water system in this area, and I was sort of amazed to find out that we had no accruals for capital improvement projects that were happening in the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. Now, the Albemarle County Service Authority was, but not in Rivanna. In addition to that, and even worse in my respect, is that we had not done any real analysis of the either the flow or the maintenance of the infrastructure… So when we talk about the fact that we’ve got to build for growth in the future, we’ve got to do some corrections for growth that’s been in the past. We have some pipes that are as much as 50 years old, and we’ve found out now that we’re already at capacity with sewer lines… Another thing I’ve been advocating for for at least four years is to change the structure of the board of the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority. I think this community would be much better served with a board similar like the MPO, which has elected representatives on that Board… I think that in regard to how we would fund the future, would be sort of presumptious and probably not appropriate for us to to try to micromanage a process that’s already in place. They’re already looking at bonds and options… I do think this from the preliminary things I’ve seen, this is another situation where we probably need to go ahead with all of the improvements at one time rather than do them piecemeal…”
Marcia Joseph (D): “We don’t have any choice as far as time frames go in the water supply. We are under the gun now. We have to repair a dam that was built in, well one of them was built in 1920 and the other in 1895. These are at Ragged Mountain, and they have to be repaired. The state is telling us that it’s got to happen. So we don’t have any choice in that matter. We are also going to raise the height of the dam to make sure there is water enough for the next 50 years. We’re looking at a cost of $140 million dollars, so we have to do that. The time frame for this building is 2011… How do we fund this? What I’ve heard a lot is ratepayers, and I think it’s really important for us to make sure the ratepayers are not the only responsible parties. I think we really need to sit down with the University and the City and make sure this all works equitably… Now in changing the structure of these entities, I was fascinated at how independent these entities are that are actually providing our water and sewer for us. As I sit on the Planning Commission and projects have come before us, I have asked and other commission members have asked, “Alright, this is a rezoning, do we have enough water?”and we are assured by the Service Authority that we have enough water. Not once has anyone said to us “Oh, by the way, we have a $140 million project coming down the pike,” so that we’re never able to give that information to any of the developers or any of the citizens that come in, because citizens have been badgering us for years about water, and we have been told, no problem…. we really have to start thinking about these things and get all of these entities together to make sure that we’re all talking…”
Question 9: Does County government have the appropriate resources, financial and personnel, to achieve the objectives in our comprehensive plan?
Marcia Joseph (D): “That’s a real interesting question because right now we’re dealing with a planning staff that’s down several members because of the budget cuts that have been made recently… We don’t have the proper resources apparently at this point of time to be on a level playing field right now, and deal with the issues that we’re dealing with maybe six months ago, because our revenues have gone down… We really need to take a look at our comprehensive plan and decide what it is we want to do, again, as a community… If we’re down right now, in funding, it’s going to be a little bit difficult to decide we have the personnel when we don’t have the appropriate personnel right now.”
Ken Boyd (R): “First I want to clarify one point because there is not budget cuts that are going on and causing a freeze in salaries. It’s a revenue shortfall, that’s what’s happening. We had projected to have a five percent increase in our revenues, and it is probably going to manifest itself at something less than one percent… That’s why we’re being very cautious with replacing people for opening that we have. But I do agree that at the present time, we do not have the resources we need to implement all the things that are in the comprehensive plan. But by the same token, even though we live in this sort of, immediate “me, me, me” world where everything has to be immediately done now, we have to realize and take a step back and understand that in order to be appropriated in our taxation of the individuals here, we can’t do everything all at once and it’s going to have to be gradually done over time as we implement these changes and move forward.”
Question 10: The Board of Supervisors has recently endorsed the concept of prioritizing areas for new development and community infrastructure within our growth areas. Do you think this prioritization is a good idea? Why or why not?
Ken Boyd (R): “Well the answer to that is yes and no. I think that it is very appropriate that we set priorities for the infrastructure that the County is going to be putting into our master plans, I think we should do that. We should decide on which way we want to spend County dollars for things like sidewalks, redevelopment, libraries, things like that, and what sequence we ought to do it in. I do not agree, in fact, I voted against prioritizing what the development community does, because I think that is going to create a competitive advantage or disadvantage depending on who owns the property where we see can be developed next. So it’s simple. I don’t think we should be dabbling in the free enterprise, and the marketplace with that and giving priority for one person or developer or build over another.
Marcia Joseph (D): “I do support this idea. I think it’s extremely important. If we’re going to prioritize where we put our infrastructure, then we ought to make sure that’s where the development goes. I think that unless someone is willing to put in all of the infrastructure that’s necessary to support the development, then that would be fine, but I think it’s also a sense of security for the community, that they have an idea of what’s going to happen, where, and if we’re all helping to pay for the infrastructure, then we ought to know where the development is going, so I think it’s extremely important.”
Audience Question #1: How do you see recently approved projects such as North Pointe, Biscuit Run and Hollymead Town Center as benefiting our community?
Marcia Joseph (D): I’ll start with Biscuit Run, because I think it does benefit the community. I think we got a 400 acre park, I think we got a through-road through that, I think we got a school site on that. We got money for proffers for road improvements that are off-site… I don’t think North Pointe was a good idea. I think the layout is not good. I think that anything that puts another 30,000 cars through that intersection of Airport Road and 29 is not such a good thing. I think that North Pointe could have been phased, if it it needed to happen. I don’t think we need any more big boxes on 29…. I think that we didn’t need that much commercial activity… Hollymead, I think that that was also not a benefit the way it happened. It should have been phased, I think we learned a lot about stormwater with that, that we really need to make sure that as these things happen, they are phased so that people know what’s going to happen so that ponds are not destroyed and water isn’t rushing through some of these culverts underneath…”
Ken Boyd (D): “I was not on the Board at the time that Hollymead was approved, and had I been on the Board, I never would have approved it with the erosion control and sediment control restrictions that were put on it. Every project since then, we’ve put much stricter erosion and sediment control restrictions on them, and we’ve asked them to proffer it, and that includes North Pointe, and that includes Biscuit Run, both… I disagree little bit, that I’m going to sit here and say that a planner who does absorption calculations and says we have too much or too little retail space only because all we’ve done is rezoned it. I’m more of a free market type person, and what I believe is that the market will take care of itself. If there’s too much retail space in North Pointe, then it won’t get built because they won’t find anybody to put in it, and I can tell you they’re not going to build something where they’ve not got a tenant to put in there… I think that the traffic situation is probably no worse on North Pointe than what has been created at Biscuit Run…. I do want to correct Ms. Joseph. It is phased at North Pointe. We have phasing in regards to when the commercial development will happen… In my mind, both [Biscuit Run and North Pointe] met the neighborhood model….
Audience Question #2
What experience do you have that will help you lead the County as we deal with major financial issues in the near future? Roads, water, revenue decline…
Ken Boyd (R): “My background is in finance and banking and financial planning.. I’ve also had the opportunity over the last 8 years to be working with both the school budget and the budget for the Board of Supervisors… This positions me… to deal with what’s going to be a very complicated budget process. This year with us being down on our revenue projections is just the beginning of what we feel will be a 2 to 5 year cycle and one of the things we’re doing is we’re reforming our budget, and this is based on an initiative that I’ve been asking for for eight years to start doing our budget differently, so that we can get a better handle on it…”
Marcia Joseph (D): “Well, I do not have an MBA, but I don’t think that you need that to be a member of the Board of Supervisors. I think we have adequate staff and I think I’m a smart enough person to try to figure out exactly what’s going on in the budget. I think we would get lots of public input as we normally do, and lots of input from staff, as we normally do, and I think that that’s how we would do it. I don’t think it takes rocket science to do this stuff, it has to be simple, we all have to understand it, so I think my experience in knowing what the needs are of the community, talking to the people in the community, I think that’s extremely important also in deciding what our priorities are and how we’re going to do this…”
Audience Question #3
With the County’s annual [population] growth rate less than 2%, where do you want it to be?
Marcia Joseph (D): “I think we’ve all sort of counted on it being around 2% for a very long time, since I think 1976, 75, it’s been about 2%, and I think that’s what we’ve relied on when we’re looking at our comprehensive plan, and deciding where our designated growth areas are, and where these people are going to go. I think that makes a whole lot of sense. I think that we’re never going to get it lower, and it’s not anything that I want to see go lower. I didn’t spring from the earth in Albemarle County. I am not a native. People come here because it’s a beautiful place, and I think that we should probably count on about two percent growth happening in Albemarle County.”
Ken Boyd (R): “Well, actually, since I’ve been on the Board, the growth rate as a percentage of population has been declining every year. When I first went on in 2004, our growth rate was 1.7%. In 2006, according to the Weldon Cooper provisional numbers, it was at .7%… I mentioned earlier about jobs and the economy and ebb and can’t get to a point where we have much less than one percent in growth. We certainly don’t want to get to a situation where we have a minus growth pattern going on, because if you think that your taxes are high now, then just imagine what it will do if we don’t have the economic development going on and the job creations here, and the retail business that brings in retail sales and business taxes that they bring…I think that one to two percent would probably be a good level for us to be, and it looks like that’s where we’ve been for a long time, and I am a bit concerned it dropped below one percent at the current time.”
Audience Question #4
The MPO is considering a regional transit authority. What is your position on the RTA and would you support the implementation of night bus service on [CTS] Route 5?
Ken Boyd (R): “I wholeheartedly support the Regional Transit Authority… I think it’s very important that we improve… that we have different transportation mechanisms for people to get around this county without having to be in a car… I’d like to see the numbers [on night service] are…I think if we have got empty buses like we had years ago with Big Blue that ran up to the Forest Lakes area, then that’s just a big waste of time and money. But we also need to work with the public and educate them and I’m not at all opposed to investing some money in transit with the idea that if we build it, they will come.”
Marcia Joseph (D): “I am really excited to hear that there are Board members that are supporting this. It really is about time we started thinking of ourselves in more of an urban context and providing different means of transportation for people. Again, that’s another way that we can get people off the roads, and deal with some of the traffic that we’ve got going on. Yes I would support [the RTA], I think it’s really important, we’ve got some terrific entities here that can get together and make something work… You talked about the night service. I think it’s important to try these things out. There are people who work at night. There are people who need to get to places back and forth, and I think that we need to try something like that, see if it works, see what the ridership is, get some advertising out there, and get these things happening….
Audience Question #5
While preserving the rural areas is admirable, preserving quality of life in the development areas is equally important. Please speak to your commitment to preserving quality of life in the urban areas.
Marcia Joseph (D): – “Places29, if you all don’t know, is a Master Plan that we’re all looking at right now… actually, the 23rd of October, the Planning Commission is having a meeting at 6:00 PM, so if you want to find out what’s going on, please come to the meeting and we do allow public comment… One of the things I think is extremely important is for the growth areas, is, I’m a landscape architect, I think we need parks. I think it’s important for us to have some open green spaces in these urban areas…I think when we start talking about bus service, and we start talking about walking trails and bike trails, one of the exciting graphics that you’ll see in Places29 has a parallel multimodal kind of pathway along 29, and when you see it, it’s a wonderful thing because people can walk on it, people can bike on it…”
Ken Boyd (R): “Every other year we do biannual survey, and we call it our customer service survey to find out what we’re doing in the County that people appreciate, and what we feel we’re doing a good job. Something that always comes back with high remarks is emergency services and police services. And when we talk about quality of life, now this is something that falls off of the radar screen because we’ve done a good job of providing that but it’s a quality of life issue for this community…Now, since I’ve been on the Board and probably one of the most recent things that we’ve done is that realizing that our response times for emergency services have greatly dropped for this area, particularly in the Forest Lakes area, with the density and the urban area that we have there. We put a temporary station out at the airport a year and a half before the opening of the new station, because we knew that we had to do something… These things cost money. The Board has just recommitted to its plan to get to a level where we have 1.5 police officers per 1,000 people in the County. Now we haven’t gotten there yet and we’re probably going to have to add four or five police officers over the next few years to accomplish that…”
Ken Boyd ( R): “I very much love this community and I have since I came here 26 years ago. I think that if what I’m hearing on the doorsteps of the 3,000 homes that I’ve visited during this campaign is true, that everybody that I’ve run across would like to, whether they moved here 26 years ago… or whether they moved here last year, they want to freeze this community in time as of when they got here… We cannot do that, that’s an impossible thing to do. It’s very important for the Board of Supervisors to consider all of these issues that you’re talking about… And I still remain committed to you to work very hard on that…”
Marcia Joseph (D): “I just received the endorsement from the Albemarle Political Action Committee for Education, that’s the teachers in the community. I’m very excited about that…. I’ve also been endorsed by the Sierra Club… I am an environmentalist and I am not ashamed. Those two things I’m very proud of…. One of the things that’s really really important to me as a Board of Supervisors member, is to make sure that we have open communication between all kinds of entities. I don’t want to see what happened at the budget last session, where there was all kinds of animosity between different people within the audience, and schools took a hit a lot of the times and they shouldn’t. We’re proud of our schools, we have some great teachers, we have great schools, we have great principals, we have great kids. It’s important to us to remain a community that people want to live in to have a great educational system…”
TIMELINE FOR PODCAST
Kendall Singleton and Sean Tubbs