In Virginia, Boards of Supervisors govern counties and its members are elected to four-year terms. Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors has six members, one for each district. Incumbent Board member Ann Mallek, who has held the seat since 2009, is running against challenger Brad Rykal for the White Hall District seat.

Charlottesville Tomorrow designed a questionnaire based on more than 200 responses we received to a voter survey. The questions were sent in August. Mallek responded to the questionnaire, Rykal did not.

Albemarle County saw a roughly 20% increase in assessed property values in two years — 13% in 2023 and 8% in 2022. What is your position on the county’s tax rates and how would you spend any increased revenue?

Ann Mallek: When assessments increased because of low home supply and high demand, the County had many projects already approved in the construction pipeline and increases in staff planned for public safety and social services. People are clamoring, reasonably, for long-awaited projects to be built and important safety services.

I voted to keep the tax rate the same; we can’t have projects and services without money to pay for them. I don’t like increases in my tax bill any more than anyone else, but costs have doubled and tripled since COVID and there is no magic pot of funds.

Brad Rykal: No response.

Voters have asked about broadband internet access and speeds in Albemarle County. Can the Board of Supervisors do anything to help?

Mallek: Albemarle Supervisors have invested financially to build fiber internet connections to County homes. County dollars, as a required match for state funding, were the reason Albemarle received state funds for fiber-to-home projects in 2021 and 2022. The work is slower than expected — apparently because the contractors are behind their proposed schedule.

The current round of funding is supposed to provide broadband to households with no internet service, and to underserved households with less than 25 mbps download speeds.

Rykal: No response.

A county report showed climate change will have devastating effects on agriculture and flooding in the coming decade. What would you as a supervisor do to prepare?

Mallek: I support preserving and restoring stream buffers to protect properties and lives from flash floods and downstream neighbors from floating debris, and to reduce erosion. I support changes to agricultural practices, including livestock stream exclusion.

Government funding has provided 100% cost share* to speed adoption of these practices.

Until electric infrastructure decoupled from fossil fuels is available across Virginia, we must weatherize all buildings, install solar over parking lots, on rooftops, and on brownfields, increase transit availability to help people out of their cars, and electrify our fleets where possible.

*Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently began covering up to 100% the cost of stream restoration projects on farms.

Rykal: No response.

Gun violence is rising in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. What do you believe local government can do to address this public health crisis?

Mallek: I support actions taken by Albemarle County to prohibit weapons in County-owned buildings and parks. People may lock their weapons out of sight in vehicles on County property, to avoid disrupting other peoples’ use of public spaces.

I support the training and care exhibited by the Albemarle Police Department in de-escalation and the launch of the Human Services Alternative Response Team, a collaborative program of human services, fire/rescue, and police departments. This team responds and follows up on calls related to mental health and/or substance abuse, using a trauma-informed, human-centered approach.

Rykal: No response.

Do you support building more solar farms in central Virginia? What would you do to encourage or discourage such projects in Albemarle County?

Mallek: I support solar infrastructure on every possible rooftop and parking lot, and on brownfields, where other uses are prohibited by contamination. Solar systems are industrial uses and supposed to be sustainable and result in improved stewardship. I do not support conversion of productive agricultural and forestal land. Protection of prime food-producing agricultural land is essential to provide for our growing population in Virginia. Forest properties are effective carbon sinks, so their destruction cannot claim to reduce carbon emissions.

Adoption of a strong ordinance will simplify and incentivize the work of solar developers, providing clear, strong rules to follow.

Rykal: No response.

What are one or two of the biggest challenges you see facing Albemarle County? How would you as a supervisor address them?

Mallek: Divisiveness and loss of civility challenge us all. Working together, among different perspectives, to improve process and find solutions, is how we get to our best outcomes for the community. I foster civil conversation and exchange of ideas at my town halls; residents feel welcome and secure to attend and speak. I am always accessible by phone and email.

Growth and population are longtime concerns for residents. Services and infrastructure are required, which increase revenue needs and taxes. Citizens must participate in the comprehensive plan review and make the plan address their needs and desires for the future.

Rykal: No response.

Polls in Virginia close at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, night. The Virginia Department of Elections will publish election results in real time, as they arrive from precincts around the state. To view them, head to this link. These are unofficial results until they are certified. Here’s more about how to get election results.

  • Sept. 22: First day of in-person early voting at your local registrar’s office.
  • Oct. 16: Deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration. You can also register after this date, and on election day, but you will vote with a provisional ballot, could take longer for officials to count because they will verify your eligibility.
  • Oct. 27: Deadline to apply for a ballot to be mailed to you. Your request must be received by your local registrar by 5:00 p.m.
  • Oct. 28: Voter registration offices open for early voting.
  • Nov. 4: The last day of in-person early voting at your registrar.
  • Nov. 7: Election Day. Here is where you can find your polling place.

Need to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are resources from the Virginia Department of Elections.


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