Election 2015 — Board of Supervisors Drakes Branch District
Garland H. “Butch” Hamlett Jr.
1. What is the biggest issue facing the county and how do you plan to address it?
Having sufficient revenue to fund requests and the need for a staff member devoted full-time to attracting new business and marketing the county are the biggest issues. Currently, county administration personnel share these duties in addition to other responsibilities they perform.
The issue of jobs in the county has always been a concern for the board of supervisors (BOS). Charlotte County is pretty much an agricultural business, supplemented by the forestry industry. This limits potential business development.
These issues have been plaguing the county for many years, and especially after West Point Stevens plant in Drakes Branch closed down in 2005, the largest employer in Charlotte County.
2. Two options have been presented in an effort to replace the county’s elementary schools, ranging from $14 to 26 million in cost. What option or plan do you support in upgrading the schools?
At the Oct. 13 monthly meeting, the BOS Building and Grounds committee recommended not to approve the $26 million project.
They instead suggested that the School Board reconsider options that are more cost-effective and meet the needs of the students to fit the budget and minimize inflated tax levies, that would be long term and would also affect the overall financial standing Charlotte County current has as was discussed in the September BOS meeting by the Davenport Financial representative at the meeting.
All BOS members recognize that the schools must be maintained and must plan for expansion and growth for the future, therefore a concerted effort on behalf of the BOS and School Board must made to do what is in the best interest of Charlotte County and the citizens.
3. What should the county do to attract new industry and jobs to Charlotte?
The most important thing that is needed is to have the Charlotte County Public School System (CCPS) partner with SVCC to develop educational programs that coincide with local job opportunities.
In addition, the BOS work with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and other partners to actively seek out businesses to relocate to Charlotte County.
A ready workforce is a must. Charlotte County must be workforce-ready to compete and must have available building space/locations for businesses. High speed internet is another need that must be met.
4. What steps can Charlotte take to maintain its current tax rates while potentially taking on new capital projects?
The BOS has been a good steward of the county’s monies. This year the BOS had to increase the real estate tax levy from 48 cents per hundred to 53 cents per hundred as a result of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s mandate to build a new court house facility. This increase may not be sufficient to pay the debt; therefore an additional increase may be needed.
Additional capital projects will certainly be needed in the future. To address these needs the budget should include a line item specifically for capital improvements. As debt is paid off, these monies need to be set aside for capital improvements.
Hamlett’s opponents did not respond to the question