This week in county government; November ballot begins to take shape; TJPDC elects new officers; Who’s funding the candidates?
Engage Louisa is a community newsletter aimed at keeping folks informed about Louisa County government. It’s free, non-partisan, and powered by volunteers. We believe our community is stronger and our government serves us better when we increase transparency, accessibility, and engagement.
This week in county government: public meetings, June 7-12
Monday, June 7
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors has a crowded agenda for its first June meeting, including six public hearings. Here’s a few highlights and a quick summary of each public hearing:
New Bridge Fire and EMS Station: The board will discuss construction of the New Bridge Fire and EMS Station, which was funded, via an $800,000 allocation, in the FY21 Capital Improvement Plan Budget. The station is expected to be constructed along Route 208 near Lake Anna Food Lion.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger visited the prospective station site last week, according to a Facebook post by Jane Gallagher, who has worked to raise money for the facility through the Foundation for Lake Anna Emergency Services.
Gallagher wrote that the foundation hopes Spanberger “is able to identify future funding for equipment and personnel for not only this station, but also for fire and rescue throughout Louisa County.”
Louisa officials likely share that sentiment. According to Louisa County’s long-range Capital Improvement Plan, the county expects to build two additional fire and EMS stations over the next 10 years with an estimated price tag of $1.7 million.
Additions to Trevilian Station AFD: The board will consider approving two last-minute additions to the proposed Trevilian Station Agricultural and Forestal District. The proposed district will be the subject of a public hearing later in the meeting. Per state code, additional parcels, which adjoin the proposed district, may be green-lighted by the locality’s governing body prior to a public hearing.
The new parcels, owned by Stephen and Kimberly Warner, are located off El Double D Farm Road and total nearly 50 acres (tax map parcels 22-30, 22-31).
VDOT 6-year plan: The board will hold a public hearing and consider approval of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s “6-Year Plan for Secondary Road System Construction in Louisa County.” The plan was developed in consultation with the Board of Supervisors with the board holding a special called meeting in early April.
Sale of 32 acres adjoining Reedy Creek subdivision: The board will hear public comment and consider approving the sale of a 32-acre parcel (tmp 67-28A) adjoining Reedy Creek subdivision. Reedy Creek’s developer gifted the land to Louisa County as a potential site for a new elementary school, Patrick Henry District Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes told The Central Virginian. The school was later built along Route 208. Several people approached the county with an interest in buying the property, prompting officials to consider its sale.
Bringing C-PACE to Louisa County: The board will hold a public hearing and consider approval of an ordinance “to create the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Financing and Resiliency Program.” Abigail Johnson from the Virginia PACE Authority provided a presentation to the board at its April 19 meeting.
Johnson explained that C-PACE is an innovative clean energy financing tool available to owners of commercial and multi-family properties. The program, enabled by state legislation and locally via ordinance, allows for the financing of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water management improvements and infrastructure, secured by a voluntary special assessment lien on the property. The financing is made available through an approved lender and runs with the property. The loan does not come due with a sale, allowing for long-term financing at fixed rates. C-PACE financing is available for both existing buildings and new construction.
Johnson touted the program as both environmentally beneficial and a way to reduce costs for property owners and tenants. She noted that C-PACE can be an important community investment, spurring job creation for local contractors and increasing disaster resiliency. The program has no costs to localities.
Expanding Ag/Forestal Districts: In the first of two public hearings concerning land conservation, the board will consider the creation of the Trevilian Station Agricultural and Forestal District (AFD). AFDs are a conservation tool that allow land owners to protect agricultural and forest land from future development for at least a 10-year period.
Assuming the board approves the late additions (see above), the proposed district will encompass 64 parcels and just over 4,400 acres including land owned by the Trevilian Station Battlefield, Civil War Preservation Trust, and American Battlefield Trust, among others.
In the second public hearing, supervisors will consider the addition of 68 parcels covering nearly 5,400 acres to the Green Springs Ag/Forestal District in western Louisa County. The district currently includes 60 parcels and nearly 7,000 acres.
CUP for assisted living facility and school: In the final public hearing of the night, the board will consider approval of Sheila Thurston’s request for a conditional use permit to construct and operate an assisted living facility and private school to train certified health and home care professionals.
The proposed facility will be located at 961 S. Spotswood Trail (Route 33) in the Patrick Henry Voting District (tmp 23-62C). Per the Planning Commission’s recommendation, the applicant will cap the number of residents at 8 with no cap on students or teachers. Planners enthusiastically forwarded Thurston’s application to the board at their May meeting, recommending approval.
Wednesday, June 9
Update: According to Louisa County’s website, this month’s James River Water Authority meeting is canceled.
James River Water Authority, Fluvanna County Public Library, 214 Commons Blvd., 9 am. (agenda packet)
With the suspension of Covid-19 restrictions, the James River Water Authority returns to in-person meetings with public attendance. The authority will discuss the Army Corps of Engineers permitting process for its proposed water pump station and related matters.
Currently, JRWA is evaluating an alternative site for the facility upriver from its original selection, with the permitting process paused for that site. The original site, known as Rassawek, is considered the ancestral capital of the Monacan Indian Nation. JRWA and the Monacan reached an agreement to consider an alternative site earlier this year.
Additional information about Louisa County’s upcoming public meetings is available here.
Interested in taking your talents to one of the county’s numerous boards and commissions? Find out more here including which boards have vacancies and how to apply.
Electoral Board prepares for elections as November ballot begins to take shape
Just ahead of the June 8 Democratic primary, the Louisa County Electoral Board gathered for its monthly meeting. A few highlights from the meeting:
November ballot begins to take shape: Louisa residents who live in the Patrick Henry, Green Springs, Mountain Road, and Mineral districts will elect representatives to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and School Board in the November 2 General Election. Registrar Cris Watkins told the board that at least one candidate has filed to run in all of the local races.
Incumbents Tommy Barlow (I-Mountain Road), Fitzgerald Barnes (I-Patrick Henry), Bob Babyok (I-Green Springs), and Duane Adams (R-Mineral) are all seeking re-election to the Board of Supervisors. Republican challengers William Woody and Rachel Jones are vying for the Patrick Henry and Green Springs seats respectively. Barlow and Adams are currently unopposed.
All four incumbents on the School Board are running to retain their seats: Greg Strickland (I-Patrick Henry); Sherman Shifflett (I-Mineral); Deborah Hoffman (I-Green Springs); and Gail Proffitt (I-Mountain Road). So far, they face no opposition.
Louisa residents will also cast ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and House of Delegates this November.
The Republican Party of Virginia chose its candidates for statewide office at a May 8 unassembled convention. The party nominated Glenn Youngkin for governor, Winsome Sears for lieutenant governor, and Jason Miyares for attorney general. Check out a full breakdown of the results.
Independent candidates have until June 8 to file to run for state or local office.
Early voting report: Watkins provided the board with the latest early and absentee voting numbers for the primary. Late last week, she provided Engage Louisa with an updated report.
As of Thursday afternoon (June 3), 141 voters had cast ballots in person while 337 voters had requested absentee ballots with 117 of those not yet returned. Watkins said early in-person voting is picking up as primary day approaches.
The early voting period runs through June 5 and voters have until June 8 at 7 pm to drop off absentee ballots. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Election Day. Any ballot arriving by mail after noon on Friday, June 11, will not be counted. Polling places open at 6 am and close at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 8.
Update on Louisa 2 polling place: Due to ongoing repair work at the Trevilians Volunteer Fire Department, home of the Louisa 2 polling place, the Virginia Department of Elections granted Louisa County emergency authorization to move the polling place to Trevilians Elementary School for the June 8 primary.
Watkins said her office sent a postcard to every voter in the Louisa 2 precinct notifying them of the polling place’s temporary relocation. In addition, her office will place a banner at the fire station directing voters to the elementary school.
Trevilians Elementary already serves as the polling place for the Patrick Henry 2 precinct. Watkins and her team will set up two separate polling places at the school to accommodate both precincts’ voters.
Still no new home for Registrar’s office: The search for a new home for the cramped Registrar’s office continues. Watkins told the board that County Administrator Christian Goodwin had no updates on efforts to move the office to more spacious accommodations.
Vice Chair Jeanne Wolf asked if county staff needed some “nudging along” to address the matter. Watkins responded that officials have been meeting about space limitations in the county office building and Chair Curtis Haymore added, “it’s not my impression that they are ignoring the issue. They haven’t been able to come up with a satisfactory solution.”
TJPDC elects new officers, reappoints Goodwin to Go Virginia regional council
At its June meeting, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission looked ahead to FY22, hearing a report from interim Executive Director Christine Jacobs about the commission’s plans for the months ahead, electing a new slate of officers, appointing members to a regional economic development board, and conducting other business. A couple highlights:
Approval of new officers: TJPDC approved a slate of new officers for FY22 including Nelson County Supervisor Jesse Rutherford as chair, Greene County Supervisor Dale Herring as vice chair, Fluvanna County citizen Keith Smith as treasurer, and interim TJPDC Executive Director Christine Jacobs as secretary.
Approval of appointments to GO Virginia Council: The commission also elected Louisa County Administrator Christian Goodwin, Fluvanna County Supervisor Tony O’Brien, and Jacobs (ex officio) to GO Virginia's Region 9 Council. Goodwin and O’Brien currently serve as members of the council. GO Virginia works to foster private sector growth and job creation through state incentives that promote regional cooperation by business, educational institutions, and government.
Follow the money: who’s funding the candidates
Candidates seeking local and state office this November recently filed campaign finance reports for the second filing period, spanning April 1 through May 27.
The Virginia Public Access Project offers a user-friendly rundown of filings for candidates across the Commonwealth.
Here in Louisa County, several candidates for local office filed reports. Office-seekers who don’t raise or spend any money may be exempted from regularly filing, and donations of $100 or less aren’t required to be itemized. A few highlights from the latest filings:
Challengers raise funds in Green Springs, Patrick Henry races: Republican challengers Rachel Jones (Green Springs) and William Woody (Patrick Henry) pulled in a handful of donations while incumbents Bob Babyok and Fitzgerald Barnes didn't report any donations for the filing period.
Woody raised $550 from two donors. He spent $273 and ended the period with $2,976 cash on hand. Woody received a $500 contribution from Kevin Reynolds, who served as chief of staff for former 5th District Congressman Tom Garrett.
Jones raised $1,548, taking in $1,198 in cash contributions and loaning her campaign $350. Morningstar Farm, an equestrian facility in western Louisa County owned by Darlene Murphy, gave $1,000. Jones spent $325 including a $300 gift to the Louisa County Republican Committee. She ended the period with $1,222 cash on hand.
Adams leads local fundraising: Though he currently faces no opposition, Mineral District Supervisor Duane Adams led fundraising efforts among local candidates, raising $1,750 during the filing period. He collected funds from three donors including a $1,000 contribution from Woodbridge real estate developer Michael Garcia.
Adams spent $1,083, gifting $1,000 to the Louisa County Republican Committee. He closed the period with $1,651 cash on hand. En route to defeating incumbent Stephanie Koren in 2017, Adams raised nearly $35,000.
McGuire out-raises Lockhart in 56th District House of Delegates race: Delegate John McGuire raised nearly $30,000 during the fundraising period from 61 donors. His top individual donor, Michelle Clark, a Richmond real estate developer, contributed $3,050. McGuire also received a $3,000 donation from Virginia Wins, a political action committee bankrolled by Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin. Youngkin’s campaign chipped in $1,500. McGuire endorsed Youngkin prior to the May 8 Republican convention and campaigned for him locally.
McGuire spent $7,458. He paid $1,368 to Astro Events, his top expenditure. Astro rents bounce houses and provides other party-related services. In mid-April, McGuire hosted the Louisa Wins festival, where he promoted Youngkin’s candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. McGuire ended the filing period with over $44,000 cash on hand.
For her part, Lockhart raised nearly $10,400 from 134 donors. She received $1,000 from Santa Fe real estate developer Kevin Rowe and Virginia 7th District Concerned Citizens, her top contributors. Delegate Sam Rasoul, a Democratic primary candidate for lieutenant governor, chipped in $510.
Lockhart spent $3,156, with about a third of that going to campaign staff. She closed the filing period with $16,492 cash on hand.
Click here for contact information for the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.
Find agendas and minutes from previous meetings as well as archived recordings here.
Click here for contact information for the Louisa County School Board.
Click here for minutes and agendas for school board meetings.