White Hall district supervisor, Ann Mallek, has scheduled three town halls in March, 2016.
Conversation with and learning from White Hall district citizens is her goal.
The meetings are:
- Saturday, March 5 10 am White Hall Community Building
- Monday, March 7 7 pm Broadus Wood Elementary School Cafeteria
- Thursday, March 10 8 pm Field School, Crozet, following the Crozet Community Association meeting which begins at 7 pm (note new time)
Supervisor Mallek asks new questions for town halls in March, 2016.
Local governments show their priorities in the most visible way by their choices about budgets. In the previous eight years I have brought information about the budget elements to the citizens and asked for feedback. This has provided citizen viewpoint with which to represent you in the budget process.
A priority based discussion is needed to more dramatically orient local government efforts in the future to the desires and priorities of the citizens. While this is a difficult process, it is essential in order to make best choices every year. It is easier to say no or yes, more difficult to identify programs you support or can do without.
This year when you attend a town hall, please bring ideas of your priorities. Where within the budget should we be focusing the taxpayers’ dollars? There are expense categories, which are required by state or federal mandate, but part of the budget is discretionary. If you cannot attend, please share your ideas with me via phone, post, or email. This important process will enable County leadership to make the best decisions possible.
For decades the custom of the Albemarle Board has been to be cautious in predicting the economy, yet this year even this approach predicted higher assessments than are achieved. Expense prioritization must occur to balance the current Fiscal year, 2016, which ends July 1, 2016. For Fiscal year 2017, the budget process underway now, heavier prioritizations will be needed.
Adding to the dilemma, the recent downturn beginning in 2009 and reduced investment left the county capital program behind in upkeep and many years behind in additions to schools to house our growing school population. Sidewalk projects take years to accomplish. Citizen frustration is high.
Costs have increased in the last three years. I am proud that the board continued to invest tax revenue to add positions in the County police department, to gradually add staff to implement geographic or geo policing. Community policing is what we all remember as the officer on the beat, who knew his or her residents well and was a trusted friend. It was also essential that extra social services staff were hired, to carry some of the increased caseloads which are now a county reality. Opening two new libraries, each needed for a decade or more and widely supported by citizens, has increased the operating expenses as well.
For attendees of the White Hall community meeting,
there are extra questions for you to ponder. For several years the idea of small area plans for the country crossroads such as White Hall, Free Union, Batesville and Earlysville have been on the to-do list for the county. Citizens have repeatedly asked to start the process, and the focus is most keenly felt in White Hall.
Some things to ponder.
- What/where do we consider the White Hall crossroads community to be?
Residents will discuss the history and informal boundaries of the community. In the Comp. Plan discussion, before we could talk about changes to the Zoning Ordinance for additional uses in crossroads communities, we needed to identify where those boundaries were.
- What do residents want for this crossroad community? What do they not want?
One thing that will be very important is making sure that the folks that are part of the discussion understand the expectations for the RA and that public water and sewer are not part of it.