By Sean Tubbs

Collectbritain

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

There are only four months left until the beginning of the next General Assembly session, and all across Virginia, localities are putting together their lists of legislation they’d like to see passed. Both

Albemarle County

and

Charlottesville

use the services of David Blount, a legislative liaison who is employed by the

Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission

. Blount checked in with the Board of Supervisors on September 2, 2009, to get a sense of their priorities.


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First, County Attorney

Larry Davis

briefed Supervisors on some of the legislative successes in the 2009 session of the General Assembly:

Davis also recommended three new items that should be included as priorities:

Davis said that many of Albemarle’s requests were not granted in 2009, and he urged the Board to continue including those as priorities in its 2010 legislative agenda. One of these was a request to extend the roll-back period for properties that come out of land use taxation from 5 years to 10 years.

After a ten-minute discussion that continued an earlier debate about the merits of the program, the Supervisors opted to amend the language of the request to allow each locality to determine for themselves if they wanted to extend the period. Blount noted, however, that no legislator agreed to carry the bill for the 2009 General Assembly.

During the RTA discussion last year, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce

did not support the legislation for the sales tax referendum

. Supervisor

David Slutzky

(Rio) said he felt the Chamber might be persuaded to support a gas tax to accomplish the same goal of funding local transportation projects with local dollars. However, Supervisor

Dennis Rooker

(Jack Jouett) said there was currently no mechanism by which money from a gas tax would be returned specifically to its locality of origin.

Supervisor

Sally Thomas

(Samuel Miller) asked about a rumor she had heard that there may be legislation to cap the amount that water and sewer authorities can charge for connection fees. T

he Albemarle County Service Authority recently decided to raise their rates in a two-tier process

. Blount said he had also heard that rumor, and added that if the recession continues into January, the legislature could be sympathetic to the needs of the building industry.

On that same note, County Attorney Davis said he believes one bill will be introduced to require VDOT to allow signs in medians so developments can advertise new homes. That practice is currently illegal.

“I would have to ask them if they could ever point to a single additional house that has ever been sold because of a sign in the right-of-way,” said Rooker. “All they’re doing is trading aesthetics for a feel-good piece of legislation that accomplishes nothing in terms of overall housing demand.”



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