This week in county government; Roundup of recent board appointments; State releases police data on traffic stops
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, May 31-June 5)
Tuesday, June 1
Louisa County School Board, Louisa Middle School Forum, 1009 Davis Highway, 7 pm. (agenda) Louisa County School Board meetings are currently unavailable via livestream or archived video. The only way to access the meetings is to attend in person. At publication time, a full agenda packet was not publicly available.
The board will hear updates on school construction projects, Covid-19, school safety, and revised school policies from the Virginia School Board Association, among other items. Members will consider approving several applications for federal grant funding as well as a career and technical education plan.
Wednesday, June 2
Louisa County Electoral Board, County Administration Building, 1 Woolfolk Ave., 12 pm. (agenda) To listen to the meeting, call 540-967-4565. If you have any questions about the meeting, call the Registrar’s office at 540-967-3427.
With the June 8 Democratic primary fast approaching, the Louisa County Electoral Board will gather for its June meeting. A few items of interest from the agenda:
Early voting report: General Registrar Cris Watkins will provide the board with the latest early and absentee voting numbers and other information related to early voting in the June 8 Democratic primary. Click here for more information about voting in the primary. Click here for a sample ballot.
Louisa 2 update: 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 will update the board on her office’s efforts to inform voters about the polling place’s temporary relocation and related matters. For more information, check out the May 23 edition of Engage Louisa.
Search for new home for Registrar’s office: Watkins will update the board on Louisa County’s continuing search for a new home for the Registrar’s office, currently located in cramped quarters on the first floor of the County Administration Building. For more details and background on the search, check out the May 2 and May 9 editions of Engage Louisa.
Thursday, June 3
Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Virtual Meeting, 7 pm. (agenda packet) A Zoom link is available in the agenda packet. Archived recordings of previous meetings are available via the TJPDC website.
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will convene its June meeting with a range of items on the agenda. A couple agenda highlights:
Approval of new officers: TJPDC will vote on a resolution to approve 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 will vote on a resolution to elect 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.
Additional information about Louisa County’s upcoming public meetings is available here.
Roundup of recent BOS appointments to county boards and commissions
The Louisa County Board of Supervisors appoints citizen and county officials to several dozen boards and commissions, which inform policy decisions and oversee the operation of publicly-funded institutions, among other duties. These boards and commissions often garner little public attention but play a key role in local government administration.
In January, Chairman Bob Babyok encouraged his fellow supervisors to fill the growing number of vacancies on these bodies. Over the next several months, the board appointed or reappointed citizens and officials to a handful of boards and commissions. Below is a roundup of the board’s 2021 appointments through its May 3 meeting.
The board reappointed Willa “Kathy” Swarthought, Cindy Swann, and Barbara Hollins to the Commission on Aging.
The board appointed Tyler Fabling to the Louisa County Broadband Authority representing the Jackson District and appointed Chad Hensley as an at-large representative.
The board appointed Raymar Byrd to the Community Policy Management Team.
The board appointed Carol Stone to the Human Services Advisory Board.
The board reappointed Doug Smith to the Louisa County Water Authority.
The board appointed County Finance Director Wanda Colvin to the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center Board.
The board reappointed Pat Hanley to the Fire and EMS Management Oversight Group.
The board recommended the reappointment of Susan Fletcher to the Board of Zoning Appeals. BZA recommendations are subject to circuit court approval.
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.
State data shows Black motorists more likely to be pulled over, searched
Data collected by Virginia law enforcement agencies shows that Black motorists are nearly two times more likely to be pulled over by police and three times more likely to have their vehicles searched than White drivers, according to a preliminary review by the Virginia Mercury.
Police departments, sheriff’s departments, and other agencies across the commonwealth are required to collect and report demographic and other data related to traffic stops under the Community Policing Act, which the General Assembly passed last year.
The publicly-available data, collected from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, shows that “Black Virginians bore the brunt of roadside traffic enforcement, accounting for 30% of traffic stops despite representing just 19% of the state’s population,” according to the Mercury.
The Mercury reported that Hispanic drivers accounted for about 9 percent of stops, roughly equal to their proportion of Virginia’s population while non-Hispanic White drivers represented 55 percent of stops and 61 percent of the population.
The data shows that, in Louisa County, Black motorists accounted for almost 25 percent of traffic stops while representing less than 16 percent of the locality’s population, according 2019 estimates from the US Census. Non-Hispanic White drivers accounted for about 66 percent of stops while comprising about 78 percent of the population. Hispanic drivers represented nearly 6 percent of stops while making up just over 3 percent of the population.
According to the data, Black drivers were more likely to have their vehicle searched in Louisa County. Eight percent of stops involving Black drivers resulted in a vehicle search while four percent of stops resulted in a vehicle search for White drivers. About 5 percent of all traffic stops in the county involved vehicle searches.
The data is subject to state review and quarterly updates. The Department of Criminal Justice Services is charged with analyzing and reviewing the information and making policy recommendations to the General Assembly based on its findings.
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.